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2013 Atlantic Journalism Awards Finalists


Slug/Label CBC News New Brunswick at 6
Date Aired or Published December 13, 2013
Media outlet where first aired or published: CBC News New Brunswick
Name of Program: CBC News New Brunswick at 6
If co-produced, list partner:
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio): 30 minutes

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

The newscast we’re submitting is a 30 minute segment of a 90 minute show. It’s the final 30 minutes which is our main block of local news and current affairs. It aired from 6:00 until 6:30 on December 13th. As usual almost all of the stories in this newscast were pitched, assigned, gathered, written, edited and aired on the same day. The exception was the lead story that dealt with safety issues around prisoner transfers in New Brunswick. That story was, in fact many months in the making and a good example of the determination with which CBC New Brunswick pursues important stories. Reporter Connell Smith heard about a Sherriff’s van that crashed, seriously injuring prisoners and Sherrif escorts. Over the course of his inquiries he ran into one stone wall after another. CBC NB went to court to force the release of documents that eventually revealed the province tried vigorously to cover-up the whole accident, even ordering all photos (electronic and hard copies) related to the crash destroyed in order to keep them out of the hands of the media. Further investigation revealed a kind of “cowboy culture” at the Sherriff’s department and the story on this night was one of several we did on that issue. The show, while not perfect (it’s on the heavy/serious side, the host is not our regular anchor, pacing could use copy stories and voice-overs) DOES reflect the kind of work we do on a “regular” day with no fiery train wrecks or children killed by exotic snakes. It’s an example of the kind of journalism we try to pack into our show every night whether there’s a big story or not. There are lots of “real people” in the show. A homeless man unzips the layers of his clothing to show our reporter how he survives on the street during a cold snap. A woman working in a lobster shop complains about the huge washout on the road outside her business. A former Sherriff’s Deputy weeps as she reads (for the first time) a letter of commendation she was supposed to have been given for bravery on the job. It also attempts to hold public officials accountable on important issues.

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

There were no extra costs involved in producing this program -- other than legal costs incurred by trying to force New Brunswick’s Justice Department to release information about the Sherriff’s van crash and its policies around safe transportation of prisoners. Every we produce this TV News program with a host, five or six reporters, four camera operators, three “desk producers” and two studio/control room staff. As you can see this show is a mix of enterprise journalism, continuing coverage, spot news, feature reporting and weather information ... exactly what we try to deliver to New Brunswickers every evening.

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