AJAs 2018 Finalists


Date Aired or Published June 21, 2018
Media outlet where first aired or published: Telegraph-Journal
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: Kingston, N.B.
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

Michael Robinson took an everyday news tip about a noise complaint and turned into one of the Telegraph-Journal’s top most-read reports of 2018.  A mom with young children contacted Robinson, fed up that a rural piece of personal property on New Brunswick’s Kingston Peninsula was being transformed into a booze- and drug-fueled, post-grad bash business for a week straight every summer.  So Robinson attended the next underage after-prom party fest at the Shakedown Ranch late one evening in mid-June, where teens from various area high schools pay $20 and sign a liability waiver to party on a private 36-acre lot near residential homes. Robinson managed to get unlimited access, where he witnessed underage drinking, illegal drug use and other high-risk, rarely supervised behaviour. Robinson was just about to board the ferry en route back to Saint John at 1 a.m. when an ambulance was unloaded and sped past, lights flashing. It was pitch black and there was no guarantee the paramedics were responding to the ranch but it was a gamble worth taking. Robinson turned around, followed the emergency vehicle into the backwoods, down a meandering, pothole-ridden road for half an hour until sure enough, the ambulance pulled into the ranch. Robinson followed closely behind where he witnessed a teenager seizing on the ground in medical distress. The scene of paramedics offering assistance to a young, incoherent, woman who had mixed her medications and alcohol, surrounded by intoxicated and worried friends and onlookers, formed a dramatic picture and opening scene for his report. The photo was a powerful one that sparked conversations in the community, and referenced in other media, about the dangers when prom partiers go overboard. Caption: A paramedic treats a teenage patient during the after-prom party for St. Malachy's Memorial High School at the Shakedown Ranch in Kingston, N.B. in the early morning hours of June 20, 2018.

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

The newsroom had 6 reporters at the time. After working a full day on the story, Robinson drove to Kingston, N.B. to report on the prom party from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. He then filed and reported on the incident the following day.

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