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Author and journalist

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Fifteen years of journalism including work as a researcher, reporter, San Francisco correspondent and investigative writer have led to two national writing awards and a nomination for a third. Fatal Dose told the story of a Canadian government radiation machine that, because of basic software errors, killed six people. Trouble at Nellie’s uncovered accusations of racism against activist and writer June Callwood. An interview with hockey great Ken Dryden was the first he gave after a self-imposed retirement in the wake of a contract dispute.  And a magazine profile of Canadian computer specialist Steve Deering and the early days of the Internet caused poet Leonard Cohen to contact Barbara for help with a project he was considering. Here’s his voicemail message:

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Take One magazine review of BUDGE

Posted by on Aug 12, 1999 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

Take One magazine review of BUDGE

TAKE ONE is Canada’s foremost magazine about film. by Gene Walz Fall, 1998 F.R. “Budge” Crawley, the founder of a company that made thousands of highly regarded industrial documen-taries, fought an epochal and ultimately losing battle to transform himself into a media mogul producing “Northerns” for a Canadian and international film audience. Despite creating impressive bodies of work, both men were frustrated by commercial considerations that they could not change. Rogues, artists, hard drinkers and womanizers,...

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Stopping Bill Gates, Saturday Night

Posted by on Mar 20, 1997 in Current Blog, Featured Articles | 0 comments

Stopping Bill Gates, Saturday Night

How a mild-mannered Canadian techno-wizard kept cyberspace free It was on a long, quiet flight from Japan to San Francisco in June of 1992, that Steve Deering, a Canadian computer scientist, first figured out how to save the Internet. It was a bit cramped in the coach section of the airplane, but Deering didn’t mind.  Bespectacled, bearded, with sandy-coloured hair, he is a famously unassuming character in the computer business, never mind the occasional Hawaiian print shirt.  He was working at the time for Xerox Corp., at its...

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Is this any way to run cyberspace?

Posted by on Oct 12, 1996 in Current Blog, Featured Articles | 0 comments

Is this any way to run cyberspace?

Why the hacker ethos is bad for the net with journalist Katrina Onstad Technology Magazine, fall, 1996 Hacker culture is a pervasive part of the computer age. Most hackers are pretty harmless, wanna-bes or kids who learn to program from bulletin-board systems. At the other end of the spectrum are the hard-core superhackers, or crackers, who are out to infiltrate and damage computer systems. The most extreme are those who overcome security and pirate software for profit. While most hackers outside cyberspace are law-abiding, if sulky,...

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Fatal Dose, Saturday Night

Posted by on May 1, 1995 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

Fatal Dose, Saturday Night

Saturday Night magazine June 1994 There was a point  in technological development when designers were so enamoured of computer software, as opposed to hardware, that  it invaded every aspect of design.  This story tells the terrible consequences of design without intelligence. On a day early in June, 1985, Katie Yarborough drove to the Kennestone Regional Oncology Center in Marietta, Georgia, for her twelfth cancer treatment. The sixty-one-year-old manicurist who worked at a local hair salon had had a lump successfully removed from her left...

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How a 14-year-old sued her parents for support–and won

Posted by on Aug 21, 1993 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

How a 14-year-old sued her parents for support–and won

The Globe and Mail Focus section cover story, August 21, 1993 This article portrayed how a legal organization was using an Ontario law to aid teenagers at the expense–literally–of their parents, and at the cost of the family working things out outside the courtroom. The showdown came on Jan. 1 four years ago.  Angela Laurin, 14, had ignored her 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve curfew.  Indeed, she hadn’t shown up at her Mississauga home until 10 the next morning.  Her parents, Bill and Rose Marie, were furious. “Where have you been?’ said...

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Trouble at Nellie’s

Posted by on May 9, 1992 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

Trouble at Nellie’s

The Globe and Mail Focus section, May 9, 1992 June Callwood inspired many Canadians to do more for their communities.  I had heard rumours that there was turmoil among the board members at  Nellie’s, looked up her number and phoned her.  She didn’t want to talk at first, but  my four-month-old daughter Hannah was on my lap while I made the call, and before Callwood could cut me off, Hannah opened her mouth and wailed.  “My,” Callwood said.  “That baby certainly has a lusty cry.”  She began to talk about what she would later call one of the...

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David Suzuki profile, Books in Canada

Posted by on Oct 12, 1989 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

David Suzuki profile, Books in Canada

Cover, October 1989 One of the really shocking things about environmentalists, says David Suzuki, is that they’re so busy saving the world they don’t have any time to spend in nature WHEN HE APPEARS on television somebody must comb his hair with a rake in order to tame it. In person, David Suzuki may be sitting in a restaurant drinking a beer and tossing back a few shrimp, but his hair is threatening to leave the room. His fellow CBC broadcaster Larry Zolf and some of the longerhaired employees of Maclean’s magazine are also...

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Profile of Heather Robertson, Books in Canada

Posted by on Aug 19, 1986 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

Profile of Heather Robertson,  Books in Canada

Heather Robertson is opinionated.  “Very opinionated,” she agrees cheerfully as she sits cross-legged on a fabric-covered futon on the second floor of her Toronto home. Even in the course of a casual discussion she will comment, “I noticed Daniel Ortega has called Reagan the greatest fascist since Hitler.  I would certainly agree with that.” Her opinions as a journalist have been valued, she believes, because “the press represents the public’s eyes and ears and conscience.” Her conscience tells her...

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Our Life and Times, Books in Canada

Posted by on May 19, 1986 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

Our Life and Times, Books in Canada

Reviewing 14 years of literary history calls for solemn reflection.  From the pages of Books in Canada, some gleanings suitable to the occasion We were all a little feisty in those days: The first sentence in the first editorial was, Books in Canada is a radical magazine.  A sentence in the second editorial: Books in Canada is a biased magazine. We were also a little sensitive: Mordecai Richler’s dismissal of Books in Canada as not up to the standards of the New York Review of Books invoked, “Books in Canada is what it is because...

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Defence plan debated in electronic newspaper

Posted by on Jun 29, 1985 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

The Financial Post Special report, June 29, 1985 At the time the only term the editors could think of to describe what would soon be known as the Internet was “electronic newspaper.” Only 90 Canadians had e-mail accounts.  But even then people were finding creative ways to express themselves. Canada’s possible involvement in the “Star Wars” strategic defense initiative is being hotly debated—electronically—by scientists and engineers across the country linked by a computer network. The debate is taking place in an electronic “newspaper” that...

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