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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an investigative reporter? To develop the stories that impact legislation, instigate police investigations and effect societal change? We had a chance to speak to award-winning Toronto Star investigative reporter, Robert Cribb, in advance of his upcoming CNW Breakfast with the Media presentation in Halifax, about a regular day, his favourite stories to cover and how he feels about on camera vs. print reporting.

Follow him @TheCribby


What is it like to be an investigative reporter at the Toronto Star?

I have a privileged job. I get to research and write stories I care about with the time and resources to dig deep and the reach required to have impact.


How does this job differ from the work other reporters do?

The Star’s investigative reporters have more flexible deadlines and tremendous institutional support to pursue difficult-to-get stories including waging lengthy battles for government records.


How do you decide what you’re going to cover?

It’s a mysterious formula. Part intellectual exercise, part gut. In the end, it tends to come down to Spidey senses for me.


But wait, aren’t you also the Mankind guy?

Indeed. Child exploitation and government corruption by day. The art of bespoke suits and modern dating by night. It’s journalistic schizophrenia.


How do you like working on camera vs. print reporting?

I’m still learning the on camera part. It’s a reach for a career ink-stained wretch. But I dig the challenge of using a different part of the brain. It makes you smarter and sharper.

What are your go-to work tools?

Righteous indignation, MacBook, coffee, Excel, Microsoft Access, a hefty contact database, Thesaurus and dictionary, coffee, patience, Google Maps, coffee


How has social media changed the way you work?

I give social media another six months before it implodes on itself and becomes a faint memory.


What does a typical day look like for you?

A morning run or hockey skate, Starbucks spinach wrap, a thoughtful read of the papers with highlighter in hand, a morning verbal wrestle with name-calling readers, the scourge of voicemail, solitary confinement for writing and reading and usually a meeting or two with sources or my students followed by an evening spent pining for Halifax.


What’s your number one tip for PR people?



What’s the very best story you’ve ever worked on?

For the past couple of years I’ve been focusing on issues of child exploitation and abuse. It has been some of the most troubling, challenging and rewarding work I’ve ever been part of.


What’s the story that you’d love to work on?

The definitive Stan Rogers book and documentary


First website you load in the morning?

Canada Newswire! (not really). But it is a common destination for research. I’m actually mentally incapable of beginning the day without checking the Vancouver Canuck and Toronto Blue Jay game summaries on from the night before. It’s bordering on psychosis.


Beer or Negroni?

In Halifax, beer at the Lower Deck, jeans, sleeves rolled up. In Toronto, Negroni on King St., suit, crisp pocket square.

About Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith is VP, Customer Marketing at Cision. Follow her @LaurieSmith

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