AJAs 2018 Finalists


Date Aired or Published October 30, 2018
Media outlet where first aired or published: Telegraph-Journal
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: New Brunswick
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

When an ATV rollover claimed the life of 13-year-old Marc-André Gionet in Haut-Lamèque, N.B., two reporters - based out of two different ends of the province - were tasked to work together to chase a delicate story. Since the incident took place on the outskirts of northeastern New Brunswick, Robinson, based out of south-based Saint John, teamed up with Brunswick News colleague, Alexandre Boudreau, who reports for the sister French-language publication L’Étoile. Robinson’s social media sleuthing skills and vast network of sources, combined with Boudreau’s dogged on-the-ground reporting, the pair weaved together a harrowing story in a single day. It was their first time working together. It began with Robinson tracking down the 911 caller early on in the morning, who happened to be the mother of the boy who was riding with the victim. At the same time, he mapped out a web of contacts in the close-knit Acadian community of Pigeon Hill based on cross-referencing public social media postings he scraped from online. However, Robinson does not speak French - the primary language spoken in the so the on-the-ground interviewing fell to Boudreau. He had to pay special attention to conduct a careful and sensitive interview with the only eyewitness to the tragedy. Consulting first on trauma-informed reporting principles, he put the subject at ease, allowing him to open up and provide heart-wrenching details of the accident’s aftermath. The details gleaned from that interview, combined with Robinson’s background research on a delayed ambulance response to the crash, weaved together an intimate recreation of how a simple adventure in the woods forever changed a northern New Brunswick village. The tribute story landed on the front page and sparked conversation of the usage of all-terrain-vehicles or four-wheelers by minors - an area of special concern among New Brunswick transportation authorities. It also shed light on the tragedy of rural New Brunswickers being left behind by spotty ambulance coverage.

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

The newsroom where Robinson was in had 5 reporters at the time. The newsroom where Boudreau was in had 2 reporters at the time. The entire story was completed over the course of a single day.

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