Podcast art by Katelyn Curtis
In the final episode of this season’s Pull Quotes, Gabe Oatley spoke to Inori Roy about her feature “Somebody is going to get hurt” published by The Local in September.
This season’s podcast takes you behind the scenes of Canada’s top long-form stories. In this episode, Roy, an associate editor with The Local, describes how mashing up a couple of open data sets led her to an investigation showing a dramatic decline in Ontario industrial workplace health and safety inspections.
“Looking at the trends together, I realized that we’re seeing an increase in injuries and a decrease in inspections and orders.”Inori Roy
“Looking at the trends together, I realized that we’re seeing an increase in injuries and a decrease in inspections and orders,” she says. “And those are things that seemed to have a little bit to do with each other.”
Roy also describes her approach to deciding how much historical context to include a feature. She says she took a sparing approach to these details in this piece, out of a concern for turning complex policy “into a patchwork history of labour realities.”
In the interview, the Toronto-based feature writer also describes her methods for finding tough-to-reach sources. In this story, it was workplace health and safety inspectors who were reluctant to talk. All provincial workplace inspectors sign non-disclosure agreements, and thus are worried about breaching these contracts, Roy says.
“I was despairing quite a lot as to whether I would ever be able to get to the point of where I had an inspector on the record,” she says. To get over the hurdle, Roy tried LinkedIn searches for former inspectors. She also used Indeed, a job search website, to look for inspectors who might have posted workplace reviews. Ultimately, it was persistent networking with sources that paid off.
“Through those main voices, I could get to the people who weren’t necessarily at the forefront of the public conversation, but who were very much fueling those conversations privately,” she says.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Gabe Oatley, editor and co-host
Rahaf Farawi, producer and co-host
Andrew Oliphant, guest producer
Annika Forman, guest producer
Geena Mortfield, fact checker
Sonya Fatah, executive producer
About the author
Gabe Oatley is Managing Editor (Podcast) at the Review of Journalism.