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Journalists who broke robocall scandal talk strategy at King's

The duo spoke about how a small pattern in phone records led to an investigation into the federal Conservative party for election fraud.

The Joseph Howe Symposium at King’s. (Photo: Dave Lostracco)

The life of a journalist in Ottawa is a world of secrets, mystery and paranoia.
King’s alumnus Stephen Maher has been covering Parliament Hill for nearly a decade.
Maher broke one of the biggest national news stories of 2012, the robocall scandal. Maher and writing partner Glen McGregor used innovative methods to expose election fraud.
Ottawa is a competitive place for a journalist to write original stories, so Maher, a national columnist for Postmedia, had to find a way to stand out.
McGregor’s mastery of data journalism led to multiple award winning stories.
Maher, along with McGregor, came to King’s to discuss investigative journalism at the Joseph Howe Symposium in October.
They spoke about how a small pattern in phone records led to an investigation into the federal Conservative party for election fraud. Their use of Google Docs to share information and write at the same time kept them ahead of their competition.
They work for different organizations but say working together, sharing sources and resources also kept them ahead.
Their reputation in Ottawa led to a string of powerful people giving him tips during the robocall scandal. He said when they found the mysterious use of the alias “Pierre Poutine” during the investigation, it was one of the strangest moments of his career.
Maher continues to write provoking and innovative stories in Ottawa—his latest is on the senate scandal.

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

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