An insider’s look at the Pickton murder trial

Award-winning investigative journalist Stevie Cameron lectured at Concordia on March 9, where she spoke about her work on the Robert Pickton murder case to Concordia students, faculty and alumni.
Cameron, who worked as a reporter for The Globe and Mail and Maclean’s, enticed the audience by examining the Pickton story in as detailed of a fashion as in her book, On the Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver’s Missing Women.
“This was the best experience I had as a writer in my life,” said Cameron.
Robert Pickton was a serial killer convicted of the second-degree murders of six women who
disappeared from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside between 1997 and 2001. He is also charged with the murder of at least 20 other women.
Cameron spoke about the insider details on the case, how she managed to gain access to
certain sources and the process of covering a high-profile trial.
Her work revolved around covering crooked politicians. She is noted for writing extensively on former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Though she lacked experience in covering trials, her interest in the Pickton case, which she had been following closely, led her to pursue it further.
“The forensics were intriguing,” said Cameron, who showed a brief video of the procedures that were undertaken by forensic technicians to find human remains in and around Pickton’s pig farm.
Cameron researched the case for four months and even moved from her home in Toronto to settle in British Columbia for the duration of the trial.
“We all know that a lot of people would like to do the journalism that [Cameron] does, but how do we pay for it?” asked Christine Crowther, a part-time lecturer in Concordia’s journalism department and a former CBC journalist. “Unfortunately, the answer is what we see a lot of the time, you have to believe in the project enough to pay for it out of your own pocket.”
“As an investigative journalist, [Cameron] really had to immerse herself in the story,”
said Jessie Mathieson, a fourth-year journalism student. “[She] spoke of most people
involved in the case as if they were close friends.”
Andrew McIntosh, QMI Agency’s investigations desk editor, praised Cameron’s work for making government more accountable to its people.
“The kinds of stories that she has done highlighted government waste and waste management and corruption,” he said. “When journalists do these kind of stories, it makes the country better, and she has done that.”


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