Allan Thompson is a CIGI senior fellow and head of the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa. He joined the faculty of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication in 2003 after 17 years as a reporter with the Toronto Star. At Carleton, Allan is the head of an international research project examining the nexus between journalism and the COVID-19 pandemic.
After earning a B.J. from Carleton (1986) and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Kent at Canterbury (1987), Allan started his journalism career at the Toronto Star. From 1987 to 1993, he worked in the Star’s regional bureau in Mississauga, in the Toronto newsroom on general assignment in the business section, and for two years as the immigration beat reporter. In 1994, he moved to the Parliament Hill bureau in Ottawa, where he worked for most of the next decade as a political reporter, specializing in foreign affairs, defence and immigration issues. He also completed reporting assignments abroad in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Russia, and travelled frequently with the Canadian prime minister.
In 2003, Allan joined the faculty of Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication. In 2004, on the tenth anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, he organized a major international conference at Carleton called the Media and the Rwanda Genocide. Two years later, Allan launched a project called the Rwanda Initiative, to build capacity in the media sector in Rwanda through a partnership between Carleton’s journalism school and its counterpart at the National University of Rwanda. As a follow-up to the 2004 symposium, in 2007 he published an edited collection called The Media and the Rwanda Genocide. In 2009, he launched the Centre for Media and Transitional Societies (CMTS) at Carleton. The CMTS is now responsible for the international media internships for Carleton students and also undertook a project called Radio, Convergence and Development in Africa, a research program on the impact of information and communications technologies on radio in Africa.
In 2010, Allan co-authored a journalism textbook, The Canadian Reporter: News Writing and Reporting with colleagues Catherine McKercher and Carman Cumming. Allan’s most recent publication is the edited collection Media and Mass Atrocity: The Rwanda Genocide and Beyond, published by CIGI Press in 2019.