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2013 Atlantic Journalism Awards Finalists


Date Aired or Published Saturday, December 21, 2013
Media outlet where first aired or published: The Chronicle Herald
Name of Program: Business section
If co-produced, list partner:
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

My story started out as a look at the province’s dairy industry and how it would be affected by the recent trade deal between Canada and the European Union. But as I chatted with dairy officials, consumer advocates and farmers, the story of the price of milk emerged. I delved into the complicated world of dairy supply management and how milk prices are set, supply is controlled and imports are limited. But the system that controls the price of milk is increasingly under attack. The world has changed since the government ushered in supply management in the 1970s. Farmers are worried supply management could be dismantled. Also, a growing chorus of supply management critics say Canadians are overpaying for dairy products. My story examines the urgent need to modernize Canada’s dairy supply management system for farmers, consumers and the economy.

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

The way milk prices are set is incredibly complex. Trying to understand dairy supply management and break it down in an interesting and thought-provoking way required numerous interviews, reams of research and lots of time writing. I started out with three days to work on this feature. But as I realized the complexity of the topic, I asked for an extra two days. It was important to fully understand why many farmers and dairy officials believe in supply management. But I also had to understand why it’s so hard for new farmers to start up, and why critics say we pay too much for milk. This took lots of phone calls, research and writing. I also realized an infographic would help readers quickly understand the main points of how milk prices are set. I worked with The Chronicle Herald’s graphic artist to visually explain key information from my story. Overall, this was probably the most complicated story I have ever written, but also the most interesting and rewarding.

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