Michelle Shephard

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Michelle Shephard
Michelle Shephard, at Guantanamo.
Michelle Shephard, at Guantanamo.
Born 1972
Nationality Canada
Occupation author, journalist
Known for Wrote a book on Guantanamo captive Omar Khadr

Michelle Shephard is an investigative reporter with the Toronto Star newspaper in Canada.[1] She has been awarded the Michener Award for public service journalism and twice won Canada's top newspaper prize, the National Newspaper Award.[2] In 2011, she was an associate producer on a documentary called Under Fire: Journalists in Combat.[3]

She began working at the Star in 1995 as a summer student, when she met her future husband Jim Rankin.[4]

She is the author of Guantanamo's Child, about the ordeal of Omar Khadr in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps.[5] She was also thanked in the foreword of the 2006 book "Betrayed: The Assassination of Digna Ochoa" by fellow Star reporter Linda Diebel,[6] as well as Marina Nemat's 2008 "Prisoner of Tehran".[7]

Her second book, Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism's Grey Zone, was published in September 2011.[8] The book was nominated for one of Canada's most prestigious literary awards, the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.[9][10]

In 1999, she came into possession of copies of convicted murderer Karla Homolka's application to transfer to the Maison Thérèse-Casgrain, run by the Elizabeth Fry Society, and published the story noting the halfway house's proximity to local schools, hours before the Canadian courts issued a publication ban on the information.[11]

On September 11, 2001, the day al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Shephard described going to the airport, to fly to New York City, only to find all flights in North America had been ordered to land and no new flights were being allowed to take off.[12] So she and two other Toronto Star reporters decided to drive to New York City, arriving at the Ontario/New York State border shortly before it too was shut down.

In 2006, she attended a hostile environment training course in Virginia, in preparation for her overseas reporting.[13] Her foreign reporting from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia has included Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Djibouti, Kenya, Syria and Dubai.[14] In 2010, she was banned from Guantanamo along with Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg, Globe and Mail's Paul Koring and CanWest reporter Steven Edwards for identifying an interrogator who had been convicted in his role in the death of an Afghan detainee in U.S. detention in Bagram. The Pentagon lifted the ban following an outcry by various news outlets including, the New York Times and an appeal by the Pentagon Press Association. [4]. The Washington Post condemned the Pentagon for trying to exclude four "veteran" reporters with "a depth of knowledge." [5]


In 2004, she co-hosted a Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement panel following up on the Star's series on racial bias in the police force, subtitled "Stagnation, Progress or a Turn in the Wrong Direction?" along with her husband and Scott Simmie.[15]

She co-hosted a 2006 round table event with the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies with other Canadian journalists including Stewart Bell and Colin Freeze entitled "The Media and the Secret World".[16]

In April 2008, she co-hosted a lecture entitled "The Big Idea: The ICC, American Empire and the Search for the Rule of Law" with Erna Paris.[17]


  1. CBC: The Current
  2. MichelleShephard.ca, Bio
  3. [1]
  4. Mills, Emily. Ryerson Review of Journalism, Journalists dish on the pleasures and the pitfalls of romance in the biz, March 2005
  5. Amazon: Guantanamo's Child
  6. Diebel, Linda. "Betrayed: The Assassination of Digna Ochoa", 2006
  7. Nemat, Marina, "Prisoner of Tehran: One Woman's Story of Survival Inside an Iranian Prison", 2008
  8. [2]
  9. [3]
  10. Kathy English (2011-09-09). "Covering the terror beat". Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/article/1051272--english-covering-the-terror-beat. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  11. Harris, Michael. "Con Game: The Truth about Canada's Prisons", 2003. p. 133
  12. Jordan Press (2011-09-09). "New book details 'grey zone' in war on terror". Vancouver Sun. http://www.vancouversun.com/news/book+details+grey+zone+terror/5378835/story.html. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  13. Shephard, Michelle. Toronto Star, "Amanda Lindhout: Gutsy Reporter or Naive Thrill-seeker?"
  14. "Yemen both dangerous and beautiful". Toronto Star. 2011-03-05. http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/949519--yemen-both-dangerous-and-beautiful. 
  15. http://ceris.metropolis.net/annual%20reports/03-04%20report/2003-04%20Annual%20Report.pdf
  16. CASIS, 2006 Conference Programme
  17. http://www.ernaparis.com/events.htm

External links