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AJAs 2016 Finalists


Date Aired or Published Sept. 13, 2020
Media outlet where first aired or published: The Telegram
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: St. John's, NL
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary briefly mentioned she’d been approached by residents of Spencer Street about tackling a myriad of issues on the street during a council meeting one day, so I followed up with her to find out more about the concerns. She told me what she knew, and then I went to the street myself to chat with folks. They spoke at length about crime, poverty, and an increasingly dangerous situation on the small residential street. They also spoke about not getting the help they felt was needed to address the root of the issues, mainly poverty and addiction, from government officials, nor a satisfactory response from police. I followed up with those officials and filed ATIPP requests with the city to learn more about the problems and what can be done. So far, it seems our newspaper’s efforts in shining a light on the issues is helping to slowly bring about change.

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

I am the sole municipal reporter in our increasingly small newsroom dedicated to covering issues important to people in the province’s capital, but also other municipal concerns province-wide. To that end, my time is stretched (I also cover the climate change beat, which is huge). This is a story I picked away at over time while working on daily news coverage, such as covering city council meetings. Whenever I felt I had enough information, I published what I had. As this is an ongoing situation, I continued to update the situation on this street and hold politicians to account to ensure they do what they say they are going to do to address the systemic issues. In terms of financial resources to complete this work, it would simply be my time as a reporter. The main hurdle I faced in this coverage is the long time it takes for officials to respond to my requests for information, and relentlessly following up to ensure they get back to me in the timeframes they promise.

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