AJAs 2016 Finalists


Date Aired or Published
Media outlet where first aired or published: CBC
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

These are all story ideas I pitched to CBC; none were assigned. They document the actions of people in positions of authority who abused that authority; as well as the reckless behaviour of an organization which has threatened public safety. In some cases, these stories have already resulted in policy changes; in others they yet may. Principal sells off important artwork without permission Miller Brittain, Fred Ross and John Hooper are among the most distinguished of their generation of New Brunswick artists. Their artworks had been on display at Princess Elizabeth School in Saint John for decades. Last spring, I heard through a source that the principal of that school had sold them off to help pay for a class trip (or perhaps buy the students treats from the neighbouring Dairy Queen.) After replies from the school district superintendent (she would only answer questions by email), it was apparent that the principal had not told the truth about her authority to sell off the art. The art has subsequently been returned and the district has implemented a policy to better display and appreciate the art it owns. (I did this in a talk-tape for the morning show in Saint John before I left for a summer job in Yellowknife. Subsequently, they edited the piece because they had booked an interview with the superintendent.) Councillor uses excavator to destroy habitat in City park I heard about this through a contact of mine on the west side of the Saint John. I arranged meetings with west siders who witnessed or were affected by Councillor Blake Armstrong’s actions for Monday morning (even though I had been informed to come in later to cover Common Council). At that meeting, Armstrong “apologized” for his actions. The next morning, I was able to push ahead with a detailed story about how this had happened and how, in particular, it had destroyed a special place where a mother went to remember her late daughter.  The story being submitted for the award is the one that followed the next day. It documented how this was not the first time Armstrong had altered habitat without asking permission and how he was also caught illegally dumping. Police eventually said they were investigating the matter, although originally they denied they’d received a complaint. Dogs imported by NB rescue organization accused of multiple attacks I first heard about this story in late November, but had problems convincing people to go on the record. However, I kept banging away and eventually found three people willing to talk about attacks by pit bulls and other bully breeds brought into the province by Hearts of the North. They also related all the difficulties dog lovers have dealing with this organization that gets its dogs from “death row” shelters in the American South. After the publication of the first story many more incidents have come to light, as well as concerns that these dogs are bringing heart worm to the province. Even though Hearts of the North says it will put its operations on hold while it reflects on these accusations, many people are asking: how is it that an organization is allowed to bring such dangerous animals into the province? And shouldn’t someone be doing a better job regulating this?

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

The radio talk-tape was done on a freelance basis. The other stories were done in the daily run of work, with no extra resources or time committed. I had gathered some of the tape for the dog stories on a day off.

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