AJAs 2017 Finalists


Slug/Label Rockweed
Date Aired or Published April 10, 2017
Media outlet where first aired or published: Local Xpress
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: Halifax
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

The Nova Scotia company Acadian Seaplants, which harvests seaweed and processes it for various markets around the world, has been around since 1981. Media coverage of the business has, at least in Canada, been almost entirely positive. The company is often touted as a Nova Scotia success story – and it is, in many ways. I don’t recall how I first heard about the court case involving Acadian Seaplants' operations in Maine – it might have been through a tweet from a Maine news organization or through one of my Google Alerts. Anyway, I was on maternity leave when I heard about it, so I stuck the story idea in my “to do” file. When my leave was up in April 2017, I immediately got to work. The court case was, to me, fascinating, but so too were the other things I learned – about the environmental concerns about harvesting, the lack of regulations and the company’s near-monopoly on the industry here. Seaweed is big business in the Maritimes. This was a rare peek inside the industry.

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

I reported and wrote this story for Local Xpress over the course of one week while I was on strike from The Chronicle Herald. The Herald’s striking journalists started the online news source Local Xpress in order to continue our journalism work during the labour dispute. When I was working on this story, my mat leave had just ended and my husband was still working, so I squeezed in my reporting and writing during the baby’s naps and whenever my husband was home to look after our son while I worked. In total, it probably took about 25 to 30 hours. Since I didn’t have an office to work from, I pulled our kitchen table into a spare room to function as a desk for that week. Aside from the strike pay I earned that week, no additional money was used to complete the story. When the strike ended in August (I was hired by CBC around the time this story was published in April), the agreement between the union and the company included a stipulation that the Local Xpress website be shut down. I saved my story on the web archiving site The Wayback Machine before Local Xpress was deleted forever. While the writing remains unchanged in the captured version I have submitted, I don’t think it preserved the photos and subheads that were in the original version.

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