Amanda Roth, Zane Schwartz, Murad Hemmadi, Sean Craig | Hillman Foundation

2019 Honourable Mention

Amanda Roth, Zane Schwartz, Murad Hemmadi, Sean Craig
The Logic

We are only beginning to grapple with the rise of Big Tech.

In October 2017, all three levels of government joined Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., to announce plans to create a smart city on 12 acres of Toronto’s eastern waterfront called the Quayside.

For the next eight months, the coverage of Sidewalk Toronto was celebratory and reactive. That was until The Logic, an innovation-focused online media platform, launched, in June 2018. Two days later, reporter Amanda Roth published her first story on the project, revealing that several Sidewalk Labs-affiliated companies stood to benefit from the Waterfront project and that they had already begun lobbying government officials extensively to do so. Her reporting resulted in strong blowback from the company’s public relations firm, who demanded retractions.  But, The Logic was not intimidated.

Roth, Schwartz, Hemmadi and Craig went on to publish more than a dozen exclusive stories on the Sidewalk Toronto project over the next five months including: the firings of key personnel, internal concerns over the handling of data privacy, and the land value of the real estate involved. Of particular note, The Logic became the first news organization in recent history to confirm a provincial auditor-general audit in the midst of the investigation.

The Logic’s stories all relied on the key tenets of outstanding reporting: the slow and delicate cultivation of confidential sources, including several brave whistleblowers; the tedious work of poring over corporate filings, real-estate holdings and access-to-information requests; the rapid response and initiative needed in breaking-news coverage; and finally, the dogged determination to get a story published when faced with intimidation, questions over credibility by crisis management firms, and hostility.

The Logic’s reporting has informed the public about critical issues surrounding Big Tech in Canada—including data privacy, intellectual property and governance, along with the larger social, economic and cognitive forces at play. They compelled increased attention and scrutiny from public officials, especially the rare value-for-money audit examining the use of public funds. As Toronto grapples with the costs and benefits of prime waterfront land in the hands of private development, The Logic’s exclusive and relentless reporting has brought greater accountability to the process and they continue to pressure Sidewalk Toronto for greater transparency.

Amanda Roth worked at Vice Canada as the editorial coordinator for the national newsroom before joining The Logic. She began her career at, the Canadian International Council website, and worked on communications, marketing and community outreach for the Toronto Environmental Alliance, where she was involved in initiating Toronto’s only mayoral debate in 2014 on the environment.

Zane Schwartz is an investigative journalist who was on staff at the National Post and Maclean’s before joining The Logic. Zane was the 2017 Michelle Lang Fellow in Journalism, where he built a searchable database of five million political donations, revealing the biggest donors in every province and territory for the first time in Canadian history. He won a Data Journalism Award from the Global Editors Network in 2018 for that project. In both 2017 and 2018 he won a Goff Penny Award, which is given to the best young newspaper journalist in Canada.

Murad Hemmadi is based in Ottawa, and covers business and innovation policy, scale-ups and the odd lentil trade story. Before joining The Logic, he covered politics and wrote a much-opened daily newsletter for Maclean’s. He started his journalism career as an honourably-mentioned reporter at Canadian Business, covering the technology sector, and editing, a publication focused on entrepreneurship and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Sean Craig is a contributing editor at The Logic. He was previously a business reporter at the Financial Post, where he covered the media industry and finance, and a national reporter at Global News. He began his journalism career as an editor and reporter at muckraking media startup Canadaland, and as a contributor to BuzzFeed, Vice and the Toronto Star. Before entering the industry, he worked in financial communications in London, focusing on structured finance and credit markets.