The Jack Webster Foundation holds various free masterclasses each year for journalists, journalism students and educators.

The 2021 Law & the Media Seminar was held April 28th, 2021.

When Journalists Investigate: How to Navigate a Story with High Stakes and Deep Consequences

The Law & the Media Seminar is presented by the Law Society of British Columbia and the Jack Webster Foundation.

Explore the legal pitfalls and implications when a journalist gets caught up in a missing person’s case. A panel of experts will follow an unfolding scenario and provide insights on navigating police, tipsters, prisons, court access, a family’s grief and major potential for defamation.

Panel Members:

  • Dan Burnett, QC, Media Lawyer, Owen Bird Law Corporation
  • John L. Daly, 980 CKNW/Investigative Reporter
  • Cassidy Olivier, City Editor, The Vancouver Sun/The Province 
  • Farid Muttalib, Legal Counsel, CBC/Radio-Canada

Watch it now if you missed it here.

The Law & the Media Seminar is presented by the Law Society of British Columbia and the Jack Webster Foundation.

The 2019 Jack Webster Foundation Law & the Media Workshop

Presented by the Law Society of British Columbia

Exposing Scam Artists & the Journalist Source Protection Act: What All Reporters Need to Know
April 11th, 2019 at the Law Society of British Columbia

Missed the workshop? Watch the recording of the event by clicking on this link:

The 2019 Law & the Media Workshop covered how can you report an alleged scam without putting yourself or your sources at legal risk. The workshop also examined, when the scam becomes a criminal proceeding, how do you get exhibits and report about it safely and explored issues of defamation, responsible communication and the new Journalist Source Protection laws.

The Jack Webster Foundation gratefully acknowledges the 2019 panel members who took part:
Dan Burnett, media lawyer, Owen Bird Law Corporation
Rumina Daya, senior reporter, Global News
Harold Munro, editor-in-chief, Vancouver Sun and The Province
Eve St-Laurent, legal counsel CBC/Radio-Canada

2017 Workshop Recap

November 1, 2017
Moving Targets and Lost Control: Legal Implications of Social Media
45 journalists attended the 2017 Law and the Media Seminar entitled Moving Targets and Lost Control: Legal Implications of Social Media. The workshop dealt with challenges faced by journalists as they navigate issues of reliability, copyright and control when researching and publishing in a social media environment.

Dan Burnett, QC, Jack Webster Foundation trustee and media lawyer, created a scenario from which a lively discussion ensured about how do you assess the reliability of online information; when the story is a sensation, how do you manage runaway comments, re-posting, photo-grabbing and an onslaught of unknown tipsters. How can you fix an error that has gone viral?

Dan Burnett, media lawyer, Owen Bird Law Corporation
Wendy Cox, BC and Alberta editor, The Globe and Mail
Ludmila Herbst, QC, media lawyer, Farris, Vaughn, Wills & Murphy LLP

2016 Workshop Recap

Judging the Journalist
Sixty journalists attended the 2016 Law and the Media Seminar entitled Could your journalism survive scrutiny by a judge?

An excellent panel lead the discussion about the Responsible Communication defence which protects journalists who do it right even if they get some of it wrong, provided they are willing to put their work under the microscope. An investigative story unfolded with bumps and legal twists, illustrating the topic.

David Beers, founding editor, The Tyee
Dan Burnett, media lawyer, Owen Bird Law Corporation
Kathy Tomlinson, investigative reporter, The Globe and Mail
David Sutherland, media lawyer, David F. Sutherland Law Corporation

2015 Workshop Recap

Unfolding News Story
An Unfolding News Story will examine a fictional scenario involving an offer of a drone video and the subsequent navigation of the story through the legal pitfalls it presents. The seminar will explore a wide range of issues from drone rules, leaked government documents, libel, privacy, bans, production orders or warrants through to unscheduled interviews, FOI Demand-to-Return and social media and copyright rules.


The 2013 workshop, Major Crimes and Mega Trials, took place on May 29, 2012 in Vancouver.

2013 Law and the Media Workshop – “Major Crimes and Mega Trials”

Presenters, left to right: Ben Hadaway, moderator, Law Society of BC, Dan Burnett, media lawyer, Owen Bird LLP, Doriano Temolo, news director, Global National, Michael Skene, media lawyer, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and Ros Guggi, deputy editor, The Province

About the workshop
My thanks to the staff and organizers of the very informative and interesting evening held last night. I thought the format was good – kind of a case example and mentor situation. It added a different perspective to the way that material has been presented in the past where case precedents and rulings were the main discussion points in the past. The session, full of practical information regarding real life situations, was over all too quickly. I would like to thank the panel participants for sharing their views and taking the time from their busy schedules to participate. We were all enriched by their comments and their knowledge.
Jean Sorensen, Canadian Lawyer.


Your support today makes a big difference and will help us continue the Jack Webster Foundation and celebrate excellence in journalism to protect the public interest for British Columbians.

Your donations go to support Student Journalism Awards, Professional Development Fellowships, free Masterclasses for journalists, journalism educators and students, and to support the costs of funding the annual Webster Awards.

As the Jack Webster Foundation is a registered Canadian charity, tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 or more. Should you wish to make your donation by cheque, please contact us by sending an email at [email protected].