Journalists, sources and crossing the line.

It’s a dilemma that every journalist faces.

What is the line we must not cross in the interest of impartiality?

When do we cross it?

When must we cross it?



Veteran CBC journalist and author Carol Off explored the wrenching decisions that journalists must make – decisions that can have a lasting impact on the lives of others.

Her riveting lecture was followed by a conversation with moderator Joyce Napier, Ottawa Bureau Chief for CTV National News.


The 19th Annual Kesterton Lecture with Carol Off

Knowing Carol

“I remember always enjoying her perspective on things. It was a good balance of curiosity, scepticism, looking beyond the obvious, and her sense of humour.”

Developing sources

“It’s surprising that so little thought has gone into the complex relationship we have with those who inform our stories.”

Making choices

“I was eventually and perhaps inevitably forced to finally cross the line that separates the reporter from her story.”

Facing consequences

“Was I right or was I wrong to get involved?”

Looking back

“I also think we have to be more inclined to look back over our shoulder to see the effects of our reporting. To see what we have left behind.”

In conversation with Joyce Napier

And questions from the floor.

Kesterton in the Headlines