AJAs 2018 Finalists


Date Aired or Published Sept 14-Nov 2/2018, Aug 2/2018, Mar 28/2018
Media outlet where first aired or published: CBC Prince Edward Island
Name of Program: Compass
If co-produced, list partner: N/A
Location: Charlottetown/Montague/Montague
List awards, grants: N/A
Running time (TV/Radio): 2:40

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

Journalist Rationale: I moved to the East Coast a year and a half ago, taking my first job as a professional journalist with CBC P.E.I. Since then, I’ve become a video journalist and had my first shot as an on-air reporter. Being new to Atlantic Canada and the journalism industry, I’m proud of how much I’ve learned in such a short period of time. I’m interested in legal and court reporting, immigration policy and investigative reporting - digging into the details is where I thrive. The following stories are a few examples of work I think show a range of journalistic skill and some of my best achievements so far in my career. Story 1: Roger Jabbour trials - TV/Digital (Sept. 14-Nov. 2, 2018) I’ve been covering Roger Jabbour’s court cases since early July, including two separate trials for sexual charges involving his former students. As a new journalist, getting the opportunity to cover these high profile trials and knowing my producers trusted me to do so was a major achievement. I went to court each day alone, with only a laptop and my camera. I got to the courthouse early every morning, gathering footage of Jabbour and the lawyers for my TV coverage - seizing every opportunity to speak to the lawyers and clarify details given in court. In the courtroom, I took diligent notes, writing radio scripts and online copy as the trials developed updating the story throughout the day. Days in court were long and I filed for various platforms, often leaving court with only an hour to write and package my TV piece for our evening news program. This was my first experience covering criminal trials - and it was challenging. Each day was filled with disturbing testimony and dense information. I had to balance sensitivity with attention to detail, carefully telling the story without sensationalizing. I used editorial judgement to carefully navigate publication bans, focusing on being balanced, fair and absolutely sure of every detail I reported. * Please note I spoke with the AJA executive and was told I was permitted to submit multiple television and online stories for this entry to properly show the continuation of coverage of Jabbour’s second trial and decision. Story 2: Montague Town Hall Fire -- TV (Aug 2nd, 2018) The fire that burned down Montague’s Town Hall is an example of one of the many breaking news stories I covered during my first summer as a reporter with CBC P.E.I. - but it’s one that I’m especially proud of. I woke up to a call from my producer at 6:30 a.m. telling me news was breaking. I had enough time to pull on a pair of jeans, grab my camera gear and rush to Montague. I was the first reporter to arrive on scene - and because of that - arranged a live interview with Montague’s CAO for our morning radio show. I stayed on site all day doing interviews and shooting footage, focused on getting creative shots that would help me tell the story for TV. I wrote scripts from the scene that I called into our radio news program throughout the day and updated my producers and webteam with new photos, interviews and details as the story developed. This story shows my ability to act quickly when news breaks and my persistence to get new information to our audiences as quickly as possible, with few resources other than my phone and camera. I had to think on my feet, adapt the story as it developed and work to bring as many voices to it as I could. Story 3: Rural towns wrestle with stacks of PNP applications - DIGITAL (March 28, 2018) This story is an example of my investigative work. It started when I found a strange tweet from a foreign immigration agency stating the province was sending out invitations to apply for its Provincial Nomination Program, something the government didn’t publicly announce. After digging more deeply I learned municipalities were now responsible for initially vetting and nominating applications to the province - but weren’t given any additional resources to do so. I spoke with several municipalities and all of them had the same message - they were overwhelmed by the work. Throughout this story I faced a lot of stone walls trying to get information from the province. Several of my requests went unanswered or I was told this simply “wasn’t a story.” But, I was persistent and trusted my instincts. I spoke to as many people as I could and in doing so found a much bigger story about the real impact this program was having on rural municipalities and the disadvantage these communities had when it came to dealing with it.

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

Resource Explanation: I chose each of these stories because the only resources I had to file them were myself and my camera. As a video journalist, I did all of my own shooting, performing, writing, editing and packaging for television, radio and online editions of these stories. As a smaller market with limited resources, this is how I produce stories day-to-day. I relied on my own editorial and technical skills and the guidance of my vettors to make these stories happen. Because we are a daily news operation, time is also a limited resource. Both my coverage of the Jabbour trials and the Montague Town Hall fire were filed within one work day, with radio and online editions being published within only a few hours. Due to our limited staff, I could only be given two days for my investigation of the PNP program and I was the only reporter gathering information, interviews and scouring provincial documents. In a small market like CBC P.E.I., video journalists rely on their own skills to bring an entire story together and while that’s challenging at times, it’s made me an efficient and resourceful journalist.

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