Michelle Shephard stood among the crumbling remains of New York City’s World Trade Center on the night of 9/11 and asked, “Why?” So began her journalistic journey as the Toronto Star’s National Security reporter, looking for answers in the streets of Mogadishu, Sanaa, to the mountains of Waziristan, refugee camps in Dadaab and Peshawar, the corridors of power in Washington and Ottawa, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle and flying to the world’s most famous jail in Guantanamo Bay more than two dozen times.
Shephard has won Canada’s top journalism’s prizes – a three-time recipient of the National Newspaper Award (2002, 2009, 2011) and she was part of a Toronto Star team that won the Governor General’s Michener Award for Public Service Journalism. She has collaborated on various films and was the co-director of Guantanamo’s Child, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was voted as TIFF’s Top Ten Films. She was awarded the Atkinson Fellowship in 2015 for a series called Generation 9/11, which will look at the recruitment of foreign
members for Daesh, the group also known as the Islamic State.
Shephard speaks frequently on issues of national security and civil rights and lives in Toronto with her photojournalist husband Jim Rankin, traveling frequently for both work and pleasure.