Osgoode Hall Law School of York University announced May 15 the appointment of two award-winning journalists in its inaugural Journalist in Residence program that gets underway this fall.
Gail J. Cohen, former editor-in-chief of Thomson Reuters-owned Canadian Lawyer magazine and its family of publications, and Roxana Olivera, a Canadian investigative journalist of Peruvian heritage, will each spend time during the 2017-18 academic year pursuing journalistic projects that will engage the Osgoode community, involve law students and enrich our understanding of law and its impact.
“We received stellar applications from talented journalists for these two positions,” said Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin. “We’re delighted that Gail Cohen and Roxana Olivera will be joining us to explore stories about justice and the impact of law in our society and in our world.”
Osgoode’s Journalist in Residence program is designed to encourage journalistic projects focused on interpreting legal history, examining law’s realities today and imagining law’s future.
The Journalist in Residence program is funded in part from Osgoode’s Fund for Innovation in Law & Media (FILM), made possible by a gift from alumna Kathryn Podrebarac, and the Art Vertleib Q.C. Fund. Both funds are dedicated to exploring the intersection of law, media and journalism.
Cohen was editor-in-chief of Canadian Lawyer, Canadian Lawyer 4Students, Law Times, Canadian Lawyer InHouse and the Legal Feeds blog from 2006-16, as well as FindLaw.ca from 2012-16. She is currently a media and communications consultant and is working with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association as its director, Media and Communications.
Among the projects she plans to pursue while at Osgoode, she will examine the impact of landmark rights and equality cases involving the LGBTQ community from the litigant’s perspective as well as on the legal landscape in Canada.
“I’m looking forward to having the time and resources to focus on a project that I am passionate about, as well as being able to take my years of experience running the largest group of legal periodicals in Canada to help amplify to the public the great work happening at Osgoode,” Cohen said.
She also looks forward to working with students, staff and faculty on the role media can play in legal advocacy.
An exceptional writer and editor, Cohen has received a long list of awards over the past 20 years, including a Canadian Association of Journalists/Canadian International Development Agency fellowship in 2003 to cover the International War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda.
Olivera’s passion for the rule of law, human rights and social justice informs her work, which has been published in English, Spanish and German. At Osgoode, she will be working on a project that will explore the boundaries of the law concerning child abuse and exploitation and the proliferation of offending material online in the digital age.
“This appointment is, for me, a great opportunity to work alongside internationally renowned scholars on a project that aims to stir debate about change in national and global legislation regarding online child exploitation and how to better support and protect survivors,” Olivera said.
Her reporting has appeared in digital, broadcast and print media. Her radio documentary, The Good Italian?, which she produced with Steve Wadhams, won a bronze medal at the New York Festival’s International Radio Program Awards for the World’s Best Radio Programs in 2014. Her feature, Standing Up to Big Gold, which was published in the United Church Observer, received an award of excellence from the Associated Church Press in Chicago in 2014.
More recently, Olivera formed part of the investigative team of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that carried out an investigation – Evicted and Abandoned: The World Bank’s Broken Promise to the Poor – which received several awards, including the prestigious Al Neuharth Innovation in Investigative Journalism Award.
For more information about Osgoode’s Journalist in Residence program, visit osgoode.yorku.ca/faculty-and-research/fellowships/journalist-in-residence; for a previous YFile story about the program, visit yfile.news.yorku.ca/2017/01/31/osgoode-hall-law-school-announces-journalist-in-residence-program.