Join us at 1 p.m. on April 11 to hear Toronto Star security reporter Michelle Shepard talk about reporting from home and abroad on terrorism at the 2013 Atkinson Lecture at Ryerson University.

By Gavin Adamson

The Toronto Star’s national securities reporter says she receives more transparent information around security and defense from foreign governments than she does from her own.

“I've had greater disclosure from Somalia, Yemen and the U.S. than Ottawa,” said Michelle Shephard, who spoke at Ryerson University about her 12 years of national securities coverage for the Star. "I find it really frustrating.”

That was one of many reflections from Shephard, who spoke to students, faculty and visitors to Ryerson School of Journalism as the 2013 Atkinson guest speaker for an annual series is sponsored by the Atkinson Charitable Foundation. Shephard’s lecture focused mainly on three topics. She began by discussing her coverage about the U.S. detention centre in Guantanomo Bay, Cuba and surprised viewers with the detail that the military base includes a gift shop. She spoke about a story she wrote for the Star about a source who had been a victim of the Al Shabab "a Somali-based insurgency that has declared itself Al Qaeda’s proxy in the Horn of Africa," as she wrote for the Star. She spoke of her relief that Ishmail Khalif Abdulle eventually landed as a refugee in Norway.


She spoke about her reports from Yemen, where she originally traveled to understand “the roots of terrorism,” an approach she says she now regrets. She later saw the country as “one of the most misunderstood places in the world.”

Here is a recap of the live blog: 

Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.