Journalism Seminars

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For Journalists

Hone your economic reporting skills

Our economics and policy seminars for journalists will give you a greater understanding of economics and public policy and help you write about Canadian and world issues with more clarity and confidence.

Many of today’s issues, including health care, income inequality, the environment, and foreign aid have economic implications. These programs will improve your understanding of economics so you'll be more adept at analyzing the policies proposed by politicians and advocacy groups, and the public’s responses to these policies. You'll gain practical tools, know which questions to ask, and be able to write about current events from a different angle.

The Fraser Institute now offers two programs to journalists. The Economics for Journalists program focuses on teaching basic economic principles and how they relate to journalism. The NEW Policy for Journalists program demonstrates how to use economic principles to examine Canadian and global public policy issues.

Economics for Journalists

In 2012, we successfully launched a revised Economics for Journalists program that focused on teaching basic economic principles and how they relate to journalism. The journalists’ feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Since then, over 300 journalists have attended our program and 98% have agreed that the program was intellectually stimulating and that they had gathered useful information they would use in their careers.

The program features common economic terms being explained and the practical application of the "economic way" of thinking is highlighted throughout the program. Through lectures, simulations, and discussions, three experienced economics professors will demonstrate how economics can be used to better understand the world around us using real, relevant examples from Canadian society, and explain how to apply the economic concepts being taught to actual reporting.

Topics covered include:
  • Labour markets
  • National debt
  • Government budgets/spending
  • Numbers in the newsroom: GDP, CPI, the unemployment rate
  • Economic freedom
  • International trade
  • Monetary policy
Economic concepts covered include:
  • Opportunity costs
  • Property rights
  • Unintended consequences
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Marginal decision-making
  • Supply and demand

Policy for Journalists

The Policy for Journalists program teaches journalists how to use an economic lens to analyze Canadian and global policies. The complexity of some policy issues is daunting. While economic reasoning doesn’t guarantee resolution of the issues, it is a powerful tool for critical thinking. The ability to determine opportunity cost, identify incentives, and predict resulting behavior will help journalists set aside the emotion surrounding policy issues and bring clarity to the discussion of current events.

Having taken our Economics for Journalists program previously, or having a solid understanding of economics and an interest in public policy is recommended for this advanced program.

An experienced economics professor will guide you through the program which consists of lectures, simulations, case studies, and discussions. The sessions are focused on applying economic concepts to analyze and interpret various Canadian and global public policies. Each session will be providing you with a foundation for the case studies and discussion that follow it. Different Fraser Institute policy staff will present case studies on topics such as Canada’s health care system, government spending and taxation, the housing market, poverty, and the disappearing middle class. During each case study, there will be extensive time allocated for group discussion and participation. This component of the program is extremely important; please be respectful of other participants’ views and opinions, and only those interested in contributing to thoughtful and engaging group conversation are asked to apply.

Economic concepts covered include:
  • The "economic way of thinking" reviewed
  • Public choice theory
  • Debt, deficits, and balanced budgets
  • Market failure and government failure
  • Globalization
  • Nationalism
  • Unintended consequences
  • Trade
Public policy topics covered include:
  • Energy development and the environment
  • Canada’s health care system
  • Government spending and taxation
  • The housing market
  • Poverty, inequality, and the disappearing middle class

These graduate seminar-style programs are open to journalists from TV, radio, print, and new media from across Canada, and allow journalists to look at important issues through an economic lens while engaging in a forum of learning, questioning, and critical analysis. Full bursaries are available to cover all program costs, including travel, accommodation, tuition, materials, and included meals.

Upcoming Programs

Economics for Journalists

May 3-6, 2018
Toronto, ON
For more information

Economics for Journalists

May 24-27, 2018
Vancouver, BC
For more information

Policy for Journalists

May 31-June 2, 2018
Toronto, ON
For more information

To Apply

The application deadline for the Policy for Journalists program is Monday, February 5, 2018 at 5:00pm (PST).

The application deadline for the Economics for Journalists programs has been extended to Friday, February 9, 2018 at 5:00pm (PST).

Please note: there is one application form for both the Toronto and Vancouver Economics for Journalists programs, and you can indicate your date and location preferences on that form. There is a separate application form for the Toronto Policy for Journalists program. You cannot apply for both the economic and policy programs; please apply to one or the other. No one person will be accepted into both programs in the same year.

For more information, please contact Rachel Osterman at or 1-800-665-3558 ext. 554 / 604-688-0221 ext. 554.