Patricia W. Elliott is professor of investigative and community journalism at First Nations University of Canada. She has an MA in Media Studies from the University of Regina and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Previously Elliott worked as a freelance magazine journalist, and was cited numerous times by the Canadian Association of Journalists and National Magazine Awards for her investigative work in publications such as Saturday Night and Canadian Living.
She has worked on assignments around the globe, including Pakistan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Burma. As a former news reporter for the Bangkok Post she covered general news, refugee issues and the drug trade, including travelling to Burma’s Golden Triangle region to interview Khun Sa, indicted by the U.S. government as the world’s largest heroin trafficker. This experience led to an interest in Burma/Myanmar, which continues to be the focus of much of Elliott’s journalism, including a book, The White Umbrella, several articles and, more recently, a documentary film, Breaking Open Burma. As well, her M.A. research focused on refugees and migrants from Burma who became involved in community radio in Thailand.
Her research also took her to Romania in 2009, where she joined a group of Central European University Scholars in interviewing journalists about their struggles to sustain independent media. In 2018 she returned to her reporting roots in Burma, on an extended research trip to Southeast Asia, interviewing local journalists in Burma and along the Thai-Burma border. Her encounters abroad have led her to highly value a free and critical press that, above all else, holds power to account.
Back in Canada, she has been active on issues around media decolonization, working alongside Indigenous journalists and community leaders to address media deficits. In 2017 she helped coordinate U of R student participation in the Price of Oil, the country’s biggest investigative journalism collaboration at the time, involving some 50 journalists, students and university researchers across the country. She continues to work on campus-media collaborations as a faculty advisor for the Institute for Investigative Journalism, situated at Concordia University, and is currently teaching investigative research courses at First Nations University of Canada.