Getting Started

Photo courtesy: STOCK.XCHNG


In addition to sharing our findings from our study, this site also doubles as a central information hub on the basics of the oil sands, with numerous links to fact sheets, studies, data as well as potential sources you can contact.

14 out of the 20 journalists who participated in our study mentioned that online sources are either extremely or very important to them, and almost half begin their story research online. Afterward, they say that they confirm and expand on that information interviewing the producers of that information.

They cite the tension between economic interests and the environment as the main story of the oil sands. It’s not an easy one. It involves economics, global trade, environmental and human health impacts, and geopolitics to name a few angles.

Some of our respondents have shared their wishes of a “one stop shop” for oil sands information online. In response, we link to knowledge in one convenient location and hope to assist journalists in saving some hassle.

As well, feel welcome to help us improve our content by pointing out something we missed by dropping us a line at or


Want to read about/download our study? Read all About Us.

Looking for fast facts? Visit our Basic Facts section with information cited from industry, academic, environmental and government perspectives.

What is each oil company up to? See links to company operations on their respective websites in our Getting Started section.

Want to go see the oil sands for yourself? See the Visit the Oil Sands section.

Who are some sources journalists call and who are some others that we’ve found? Have a look at our Press Contacts.

Ready to delve into the research? Have a look at our Studies & Reports section.

Want to watch a video, look at a map or download a quick image? Visit our Photos/Maps/Video section.

Need story ideas? Have a look at Untold Stories our respondents shared.

Lastly, on the right-hand side, you can view our RSS feed bar of OSRIN’s What’s New archive and our scrollable #oilsands Twitter bar as you navigate to always stay in the loop of both oil sands news coverage and social media conversations.


For those of you who may not have much experience covering the oil sands, you may notice that some people, particularly environmental advocates, refer to oil sands as “tar sands.” Here is one write up by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers on the language debate, as well as April 2011 coverage by The Tyee on public opinion research on these two terms, conducted by Angus McAllister.

Also, have a look at two “Mining vs. In Situ” fact sheets supplied by The Oil Sands Developers Group and The Pembina Institute.

Does all the technical jargon seem intimidating? Download OSRIN’s Glossary of Terms and Acronyms used in Oil Sands Mining, Processing and Environmental Management.

As well, OSRIN Executive Director Chris Powter has compiled a list of 24 key definitions reporters should familiar themselves with. Click here for Powter’s list.

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