Patti Sonntag

Patti Sonntag
Adjunct Associate Professor

BA (Concordia), MFA (Columbia)

Area of expertise

Investigative journalism, collaborative journalism, data journalism, environmental journalism, health journalism, solutions journalism, freedom of information laws, business model innovation, backfielding and copyediting, producing.


Patti Sonntag was named to the honorary post of adjunct associate professor in 2022, joining the team at University of Victoria from the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University, where she was the founding director, coordinating collaborations between journalism schools and media companies. Previously, Patti was a managing editor in The New York Times’ News Services division for 10 years, directing her team’s work on more than 60 news services for 1,100 media companies worldwide and preparing special opinion and analysis sections by global thought leaders for the international edition.

Concerns about the decline of small news organizations prompted Patti in 2014 to launch a series of data-based investigations bringing together large numbers of Canadian journalists from across up to 19 institutions. She led a national class in investigations as member schools and media companies worked together to build a national reporting network for what became the IIJ in 2018. Concurrently, she created and taught the Investigative Intensive residency for mid-career journalists at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. An investigative journalist, producer and data journalist, the projects she has designed and led have won nearly two dozen regional, national and international awards and changed laws and policies from coast to coast.

Selected professional & creative achievements

Patti’s bylines have appeared in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, The Walrus and many other publications. She grew up in Fernie, B.C. After working in countries from Brunei to Israel, she finished her undergraduate studies at Concordia University in Montreal and an MFA at Columbia University. Following internships at The New Yorker and The New York Times, she worked in various positions at the latter for 15 years, receiving a Women’s International Leadership award for her achievements.

Focused on innovation in the news industry, especially on support for small newsrooms, Patti is currently one of the project coordinators for the University of Victoria’s Climate Disaster Project, an editor for X University’s Local News Data Hub, a consultant for APTN News, and a board member for Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. Under her guidance, the IIJ received a Google News Innovation grant in 2021 and the journalism schools participating in the “Tainted Water” project became the first educational institutions ever to be nominated for the Michener Award.

Photo by Marc Bourcier.