AJAs 2018 Finalists


Slug/Label Cassidy Bernard
Date Aired or Published Oct. 31 - Dec. 12
Media outlet where first aired or published: Oct. 31, 2018
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Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

The terrible story of the death of Cassidy Bernard is one no reporter wants to tell. The first story, which was published in The Reporter on October 31, 2018, was put on the front page because it involved the death of a young Indigenous woman, and those responsible remained at large. We knew this was a story that could not be buried inside our paper; it had to be seen on newsstands and in post offices. The major challenge in doing this story was the lack of information from the RCMP and the Nova Scotia Medical Examiners’ Office. After scanning social media, we learned that the family and friends of Cassidy Bernard remained very vocal, and eventually they launched a social media campaign, then a Red Dress protest emerged - where red dresses were hung around our coverage area in memory of Cassidy Bernard. Knowing there are still people out there with knowledge about those responsible for Cassidy Bernard’s death, We’koqma’q First Nation offered a reward to those who step forward with information. The most inspiring part of this story was the protest at the Canso Causeway on November 21, which was more a celebration of her life and an expression of hope that justice will be served, not a somber event filled with sadness and anger. Just before the end of the year, we followed up with another story, this time from the perspective of law enforcement, who were charged with not providing the public with sufficient information. The RCMP responded to community criticism by pointing out that investigations of suspicious deaths do take time, and that not all information can or should be shared with the public. Although The Reporter published an editorial criticizing law enforcement for this lack of information, which we contend could have helped their investigation, we understand that this is not just another case for them as well. In this new year, we will following this story and we hope there is some resolution soon. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Jake Boudrot Editor The Reporter Port Hawkesbury, NS

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

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