AJAs 2017 Finalists


Slug/Label 171101 EN BELLVUE SEARCH
Date Aired or Published November 1st, 2017
Media outlet where first aired or published: NTV
Name of Program: NTV Evening Newshour
If co-produced, list partner: Bart Fraize
Location: Bellvue, NL
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio): 5:32

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

Description: Early in the morning of November 1st, we rushed to the rural area of Bellvue, NL an hour outside of St. John's. Nearly 40 searchers combed the wooded area where the only suspect in 24 year old Cortney Lake’s disappearance took his own life. The deceased, Philip Smith was Lake’s ex-boyfriend. Lake had virtually vanished 5 months earlier but was last seen getting into Smiths truck. The two had a tumultuous relationship involving abuse and a restraining order. Two weeks after this story aired, police confirmed Smith was the only suspect in Lake’s disappearance and murder. Police also believe her ex-boyfriend took the information of the whereabouts of Cortney Lake’s remains, and the information into her murder with him, when he committed suicide. Lake’s family still holds out hope that somebody knows something, and police believe that to be true. Jodi was first on the scene and gathered information from residents in the area. The majority of information Jodi learned to be true was gathered by an old fashioned sit down for a cup of tea. Through canvassing some neighbors in the area, Jodi learned Smith took his life behind his fathers home in Bellvue. Jodi spoke with Smiths neighbor - a senior who lived in his cabin alone. The man invited Jodi into his woodshed to showcase his wooden puzzle toys and stay for tea. An hour of conversation with the friendly resident gave Jodi much of the exclusive information she had ahead of any other media outlet. That information was then verified by a member of the search team and an RCMP officer on the scene.

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

While reporter & Videographer Jodi Cooke traveled to Bellvue to news gather the latest on the ground, videographer Bart Fraize put together a timeline of events into the history of Lake's disappearance and Smith's legal troubles, which aired after the breaking news reporter rant describing the evidence based search at the location of Smiths suicide. Later that day NTV News dispatched another camera operator and Dejero system to join Jodi on the scene in Bellvue for live hit capabilities. Two stories aired, with in depth coverage of what has been a high public interest case. This development was the most significant one the public had heard of, since Lake's disappearance in the summer.

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