Graphic by Yarden Haddi
The past year was undoubtedly an eventful one thanks, in large part, to a pandemic that flipped our lives upside down and a deeply polarizing U.S. election. Needless to say, there's been plenty of news to report on and the work of journalists has been crucial to keeping the public informed about the major issues of the day. We’ve been privileged to speak with so many great journalists over the past year to hear their stories and to learn about their work. As the year nears its end, we took the liberty of looking back at those memorable conversations and selected a few of our favourite quotes. We’ll be back in the new year with more stories to share. Have a safe and happy holiday season everyone.
“We had a friendly rapport and Manny is a very likable guy, in many ways, but my job isn’t to like him. It’s to question and verify everything. That’s always an element of any investigative piece, right?”-Saki Knafo, Issue #5
Ziv: In this quote, Saki is referring to the main interview subject of his podcast, Conviction. It’s the idea that you could spend years following and building a relationship with that person—in his case private investigator Manny Gomez—but there needs to be a line between you, the journalist, and the subject of your story that you need to respect. They are not your friend. If it gets to that point, you risk compromising the integrity of your reporting.
"We’re not all the same and we don’t all believe the same things, but what we do believe in is civil discourse and a desire to make things better for everyone.”-Ed Kashi, Issue #6
Yarden: I really enjoyed speaking with Ed because he brought a front line view of the pandemic. He explained to us the harsh truth of the current situation in the states while illustrating examples of human perseverance and kindness. Sure, he was upset about the political climate in his country but he was clearly proud of his community.
“I think that the role of the press is to serve as a check on power of all kinds whether it’s being wielded by a powerful politician or a company. Since I started covering business, businesses have become more powerful than ever. The companies that I write about like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter start to act more like nation-states than traditional companies.”-Casey Newton, Issue #9
Ziv: Our conversation with Casey was special because it comes at a time where a growing number of big names in the media industry—him included— are making the move to independent journalism. Even though Casey is on his own with Platformer, he continues the mission to hold the powerful accountable. It’s because of writers like him that giants like Facebook make changes to their employment practices, for example. To do that kind of work clearly takes a lot of courage. That’s a key trait I admire about Casey. And as a newcomer to journalism, it gives me a great deal of hope that the work I do can make a big difference in the lives of others.
"Everything’s polarized now. You can’t crack an egg without that being political or someone hating you for doing it. But I actually think the internet, and we’re now making dog robots—the combination of the two— is the end of us."-Michael de Adder, Issue 8
Yarden: The de Adder interview was a lot of fun. His job makes him unpopular with the political class, and that's what makes his insights stand out. His observations are full of wit. The way he draws on political correctness and then moves to this idea of the danger of robot dogs kept me thinking. He has a unique talent for turning mundane politics into really comedic sketches that I think make news just a little more bearable.
“An essential goal that I have when covering a story that involves people like [gang members in El Salvador] is to get the audience to relate; who don’t know anything about the life [these subjects] are leading or the culture they’re in or the society they are a part of or what their struggles are.”-Danny Gold, Issue 3
Ziv: The Danny Gold interview was a big one for me because I grew up watching his reporting before I even aspired to be a journalist. Danny is the kind of guy who literally puts himself in the line of fire to capture stories you might otherwise never have heard about. A lot of people are quick to judge those they really know nothing about. The lives of El Salvador gang members, for example, are so foreign to most people including myself. But because of reporters like Danny, who risk their lives, I am able to actually learn about these peoples history, their pain, their humanity, the complexities of their lives and why they might have entered the world they are a part of.
"One other factor around [voter] turnout is the overall trend towards making it easier to vote [in the U.S. election]. Now many states have day-of voting registration and many states made it easier to vote by mail in this election and so that trend we can’t discount either."-Karim Bardeesy, Issue 10
Yarden: I always enjoy talking to someone like Karim, because you are dealing with a true professional who is well informed and a student of the game of politics. The detail and information I got from listening to him was like sitting next to the team coach who can tell you what plays resulted in either a team win or loss, much like the campaigning of parties in an election. He knows his biases and tries to correct for them, which creates a refreshing commentary not often seen in political coverage.
About the creators:
Yarden Haddi: Student of the Image Arts Centre at Ryerson University.
Ziv Haddi: Graduate of the Master of Media in Journalism and Communication program at Western University. A former intern at 680 News at Rogers Media and q on CBC Radio. Currently, he produces a current affairs program on Zoomer Radio.
Made with chutzpah in Toronto.