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AJAs 2016 Finalists


Date Aired or Published October 2020
Media outlet where first aired or published: Halifax Magazine
Name of Program:
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List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

As results began coming in for Halifax's municipal election, it was apparent something special was happening. The city had never elected a Black woman to Council, and now one was poised to upset a well-known incumbent. Before the votes were even tallied, journalist Ameeta Vohra was pitching Halifax Magazine a story. As a woman of colour herself, she intuitively understood the importance of Iona Stoddard's accomplishment, and wanted to help readers understand it too. Halifax Magazine was the first media outlet to get a sit-down interview with the trailblazer, allowing her to share her history, motivations, and ambitions. "This story had it all," says journalist Ameeta Vohra. "Iona was not well versed in interviews because she hadn't done many up until the point she was elected, so she was very candid and forthcoming. The challenge was the interview and then finding the way of shaping her experience into her historic win and what it meant not just for her but the community and people of marginalized groups. Another challenge was finding a different way to tell the story from other media outlets and settling on the angle of having a former councillor (Diana Whalen) explain what Iona should expect and why she will succeed... Finding a good story angle was tough because I didn't want to go just-the-facts like other media outlets. The accomplishment here is that we told a story that was much more than a Black woman making history—it's about how her experiences shaped this moment and what it meant to others who aspire."

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

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Halifax Magazine's advertising revenues abruptly evaporated, making the print edition economically unsustainable. With an engaged and eager readership, we committed to continue publishing online, despite deep cuts in editorial budgets and staffing. To maximize a tight freelance budget, editor Trevor J. Adams has built a mutually beneficial relationship with a few key and dependable freelancers for ongoing contributions (Ameeta Vohra being foremost among them).

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