Spotlight’s Robinson to Keynote ARIJ’s 9th Arab investigative journalism Forum
Amman, Oct.3, 2016 – Leading journalist Walter “Robby” Robinson, who led the Boston Globe Spotlight team’s Pulitzer Prize winning investigation into the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, will be the keynote speaker at ARIJ’s upcoming 9th annual forum for Arab Investigative Journalism. Robinson, whose character was portrayed by actor Michael Keaton in the Academy Award-winning movie “Spotlight” said he will encourage fellow Arab colleagues who are working against all odds to “never take no as an answer” as they uncover the truth for the benefit of democracy. “I will tell them to keep chipping away because it is a block of granite we are up against and we are the chisel… Eventually, chip by chip, we will get all the answers that the public needs,” he said in an interview with Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) ahead of the Dec. 2-3, 2016 forum in Jordan. Robinson, now the Globe’s editor at large, added: “I firmly believe that in virtually every country in the Middle East democracy will come closer because of good journalism, reporters who probe and pry and force public officials to explain themselves, reporters who dig out information that the public desperately needs to know to assess the quality of their leadership, these reporters are the point of the lance in the move toward democracy in any country”. Robinson said he so admired “the courage and resourcefulness of reporters who have to work under such difficult repressive conditions and yet they continue to do that work because they care so much about their countries”. As a reporter, Robinson covered four presidential campaigns and two presidents, and was the paper’s Middle East bureau chief during the first Persian Gulf War. He also served as city editor, metro editor, assistant managing editor for investigations, and editor of the Spotlight team for seven years. From 2007 to 2014, he was distinguished professor of journalism at Northeastern University. Robinson’s keynote address will be one of 25 sessions at the upcoming Forum at a Dead Sea hotel held under the theme: “A decade of investigating the Arab world: I hear evil, I see evil and I report on evil”. The gathering, the seventh in Jordan since the launch of the Amman-based regional network covering nine Arab states in 2005, includes panels by the best Arab and international journalists in the business. Other training sessions include innovative story-telling techniques, digital investigations, digging out hidden facts online, the environment, the impact of the “Panama Papers” on cross-border collaborations, security and tracking dirty money and data journalism workshops. Online registration will open on October 15, 2016.