AJAs 2016 Finalists

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Slug/Label
Date Aired or Published Nov. 5, 2016
Media outlet where first aired or published: Telegraph-Journal
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: Saint John
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

In this weekend edition of Salon, the Telegraph-Journal’s arts and culture section, we visited a cranberry bog. We knew the harvesting process of cranberries was unlike anything else grown in the province — with millions of bright red berries bobbing on the water’s surface, while farmers wave leaf blowers back and forth to transport the berries to their desired destination. Trucks drag a rubber curtain, herding the cranberries inch by inch toward the edge of the bog so the berries can be collected. We knew we wanted to play with the red in the page layout. The photos from the field showed the sheer number of berries on the surface. Page designer Mike Beals framed the top and bottom of the cover page with the photos that displayed thousands of berries, showed their texture, glistening in the drab November light. He offered a contrast in visuals with a closer shot of the berries in the middle, separated from the other photos with the rubber curtain used in harvesting. This rubber curtain forms a circular frame in the centre of the page, where a farmer’s hands hold up the cranberries close up. From the field to the harvest’s hands, shepherded from the frigid water to the bog’s edge by the rubber curtain — this is the journey the cranberries take each fall. Inside the section, the two-page spread is awash with the red of the berries, but this time, there is a lot more fun with their shape and location throughout the harvest. Below we see two images side by side that illustrate the sheer size of these fields. Each cranberry bed is five acres. Workers can be seen dragging the rubber curtain along the surface of the bog, trapping the berries within its reach. The text of the story rises and falls in a wave-like shape above, and then as the reader’s eyes move up the page, more berries stand out. These are photographs that vary in size, sit this way and that. They are in berry form, nestled in amongst a backdrop of berries — these photos are circular, buoyant, floating on the top of the spread, above the text, above the headline that reads: Keeping the cranberries afloat. The story delves into the fact that over the past 20 years, the price of cranberries in New Brunswick has plummeted, making it hardly lucrative for the farmers that continue to do the work.

Resources of the newsroom (money and time) available to complete the story:

A freelance writer and photographer drove 40 minutes outside Fredericton to Maugerville to explore the cranberry bog for a morning. Once the story and photos came together, the page design took place over several days.

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