Panel: Covering Elections in the Digital Age

February 20, 2020, 5:30-8:30 - University of Ottawa


How do you know when a piece of disinformation is newsworthy? How do you avoid amplifying trolls or bad actors online? When is a story ready for the public and when is it better not to report on it? Did we overestimate or underestimate digital threats during the election? How did journalists prepare? These are some of the questions our panel will tackle on February 20th. During this panel discussion, moderated by Nasma Ahmed, five of Canada's top journalists in the area will discuss how digital threats such as disinformation and cyber security are covered during elections. They will talk about their own experiences in the lead up to, and during, the 2019 Federal Election in Canada and beyond.



Jane Lytvynenko

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Jane Lytvynenko is a journalist with BuzzFeed News, where she covers online misinformation. Her work investigates the spread of fake news, digital deception, and the rise of hyperpartisanship online. She has written about illegal online drug sales, cryptocurrency scams, and has uncovered networks of fake accounts using social media to dupe users and profit from the online ecosystems. Previously, her work has appeared in Maclean’s, CBC News, and Canadaland, where she was a media reporter and editor.


Fatima Syed

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Fatima Syed is a reporter with The Logic, an online publication that covers Canada's economic transformation. She was pre

viously a reporter with National Observer, where she established the outlet’s Queen’s Park bureau, with an emphasis on coverage of environmental and energy policy, social justice and more. She has worked at the Toronto Star and The Walrus, and is a National Magazine Award nominee. She has contributed chapters to two anthologies published by Coach House Books—Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity and House Divided.


Jeff Yates

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Jeff Yates has been covering online dis- and misinformation for over five years. He copilots Décrypteurs, Radio-Canada's team devoted to tracking and debunking disinformation. He's also featured on the TV show of the same name, the first TV show in North America entirely devoted to information disorder online.

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Kathleen Goldhar

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An executive producer at Antica Productions, Kathleen is an award winning journalist and producer who spent nearly 20 years at CBC Radio. She was one of the original producers of the award-winning national current affairs program, The Current - eventually leading the team as executive producer. Then Kathleen fell in love with podcasting. While at the CBC she co-produced and co-created Uncover's first season, Escaping NXIVM. She is also the producer of Uncover: Sharmini.

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Alex Boutilier

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Alex Boutilier is a national security and politics reporter with the Toronto Star’s Ottawa bureau. Boutilier has covered federal politics since 2012, focusing on cybersecurity, privacy and data, and how political parties are harnessing new digital tools to augment their campaigns. In the lead-up to the 2019 election, Boutilier was part of the Star’s partnership with BuzzFeed News to look at disinformation campaigns, foreign influence and the media ecosystem in Canadian politics.


Nasma Ahmed

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Nasma Ahmed is a technologist based in the city we now know as Toronto. Nasma is currently the Director of the Digital Justice Lab, an initiative focused on building a more just and equitable digital future. She has experience working alongside the public service and the non-profit sector, focusing on technology capacity building. In 2017 she was an Open Web Fellow with Mozilla and Ford Foundation, focusing on organizational digital security and digital literacy. She is passionate about community engagement, digital literacy and speculating the possibilities of the future. When she isn't working you can catch her baking, watching the Golden Girls or finding a new book to read.