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AJAs 2016 Finalists


Date Aired or Published March 2020
Media outlet where first aired or published: Downhome Magazine
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: Quirpon Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

What begins as a fun "are we there yet?" travel story with kids in tow, exploring a remote destination in Newfoundland and Labrador, quickly becomes an adventure back in time. Quirpon Island sits across from Quirpon, Newfoundland's most northerly sheltered fishing village. It's an island steeped in history with facts that sound like fiction. The island first appears on maps as the Île des Démons in the early 1500s. Those foolish enough to disembark or cross the island would risk torment by evil spirits and ferocious beasts—or so legend would have us believe. So feared, French sailors supposedly dared going ashore only when clutching crucifixes. And yet, journalist Jenn Thornhill Verma, has taken her sister and their three young children along for the trip. On the surface, this uninhabited island seems remote and without life, but as Thornhill Verma describes, as one walks this island today, it's impossible not to think of those who roamed first from the earliest Indigenous people, the Beothuk, to the Vikings, to sailors and fisherman, to authors, historians, naturalists and explorers. Thornhill Verma also gets up-close-and-personal with the vegetation and wildlife on the island, offering yet another vantage point from which to see this island - still full of life. At a time when the world hunkered down during a global pandemic, this article transported readers to a place offering rich narrative, history and landscapes.

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

Some of the reporting was carried out on site in Quirpon Island, which is a remote fishing village, in fact, the most northerly point of the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador. The the rest of the reporting was carried out remotely. Downhome magazine paid freelance journalist Jenn Thornhill Verma a flat fee of $200 to produce the story. The photos are also Jenn Thornhill Verma's. The magazine dedicated five print pages to this piece in its March issue and the story was the cover story as well. The story now appears online.

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