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AJAs 2016 Finalists


Slug/Label An Absent Goodbye
Date Aired or Published May 04, 2020
Media outlet where first aired or published: CBC NB online
Name of Program: cbc.ca/nb
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: Saint John
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

"An absent goodbye" is a personal essay by CBC reporter Connell Smith about the April 1st death of his mother Cleta from COVID-19, one of Canada's earliest victims of the virus. Smith recounts the chaotic early days of the pandemic and the helplessness of having a loved one attacked by it with no opportunity to offer comfort or be present for a final goodbye. Trapped by lockdowns and two provinces away on March 20 when the virus was detected in Cleta's Ontario long term care home, Smith documents the 12 days that passed before her death as he reflects on her long and adventurous life. Written in the wake of Cleta's death, the essay weaves together a reporter's observations about the local arrival of a global catastrophe with a son's heartbreaking account of its personal cost.

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

There were no extraordinary resources in time or money used for this item. Smith expressed an interest in writing about the loss of his mother to COVID but was not held to a deadline. Senior editorial personnel including Elaine Bateman and Connie Camp assisted in organizing and editing the material.

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