AJAs 2017 Finalists


Date Aired or Published 2017 / 05 / 26
Media outlet where first aired or published: CBC
Name of Program: The National
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: Rigolet, NL
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio): 10:48

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

In 2016, the federal environment minister, Catherine McKenna, met with her Atlantic counterparts in Halifax to discuss a climate action plan. At a press conference following the meeting, each minister took a few minutes to explain some of the issues the people of their province were facing regarding climate change. This is when I learned from Newfoundland and Labrador's Perry Trimper about a research project that showed how climate change was affecting the mental health of the Inuit people of Nunatsiavut, Labrador. It was a passing comment, but one that peaked my curiosity. Intrigued, I delved further into the topic and obtained a copy of the research paper. I reached out to the researcher who had been working in the region for the past few years, Ashlee Consulo. Both climate change and mental health are topics that have made headlines in recent years and garner a lot of media attention, however the combination of the two is much less common in mainstream media. Through Ashlee Consulo, I got in touch with several people who live in Rigolet, one of five communities in Nunatsiavut. It became very clear to me that this was a story worth telling. Very few Canadians have the opportunity to visit Canada's north and to hear from the people who live there. I felt it was imperative to share this story with Canadians because as it evolved, it became clear to me that the real story worth telling was the one of adaptation to climate change. Having gone through so much hardship due to colonization, residential schools and now climate change, I learned how resilient these people are. From my phone conversations, I could tell that the pictures and the characters would help viewers get a true sense of the difficulties the people of Nunatsiavut face on a daily basis. Just a few months after my story aired on The National, The New York Times published a feature article on the very same topic. Some of the people I interviewed in Rigolet, were featured in that article as well.

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

Over the course of several months, in addition to my regular work as a network reporter, I used my spare time to communicate with Ashlee Consulo and some of the members of the community in Rigolet. I read extensively on the topic and put together a proposal to CBC The National. Once the project was approved, I worked with a producer, Catherine Clark to iron out the details of the trip. She accompanied me on the trip, along with our videographer, Jean-Francois Bisson. We spent three days and two nights in Rigolet, with stop-overs in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on either end, where we did interviews as well. In total, the shoot took almost five days. It took one week for me to go through all the material and write the story. The editor, Brenda Witmer, worked for about three days to edit it.

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