Lessons From Reporting on the Wild West of Weed

Bruce Barcott and David Downs have been breaking news about all aspects of cannabis for years. From writing books about the industry to covering cannabis for major news outlets, they are dedicated to shining a light on this nascent industry. Critically, Bruce and David have been at the forefront of the vaping health crisis, investigating and breaking news, including tracing and uncovering harmful ingredients entering the underground market from China months before the CDC made any public disclosures.

Their in-depth, fact-based coverage is no small feat. Even in the most orthodox of industries, it can be challenging to build a brand new beat while also establishing an independent newsroom. Bruce and David have developed Leafly’s unique, respected voice as a leading source for trustworthy cannabis news, despite the myths and controversies that often surround cannabis due to the federal prohibition.

This experience gives them a unique perspective on both the cannabis industry and the current media landscape. In this talk, Bruce and David will discuss the future of deep, investigative journalism and how they’ve learned to adapt beat-focused reporting to survive in an all-digital era — and how these lessons can be applied for cannabis media and beyond.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

photo of Bruce Barcott
photo of David Downs
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