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AJAs 2020 Finalists

Here&Now;: Snowmageddon


Slug/Label Here&Now;: Snowmageddon
Date Aired or Published January 17, 2020
Media outlet where first aired or published: CBC News
Name of Program: Here&Now;
If co-produced, list partner: CBC Nova Scotia
Location: St. John's
List awards, grants: N/A
Running time (TV/Radio): 54:00

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

It's a storm known now as Snowmageddon and it made headlines around the world. A winter hurricane that shut down St. John's, NL and parts of the province for 10 days. Officials declared a state of emergency and a lockdown that lasted 10 days. At the time, no one knew it would be the first lockdown of several for 2020. But let's go back to Day 1, when the storm began. The city began to shut down right away, closing businesses, buildings, and workplaces, making sure people went home, then ordering all vehicles off the roads. As the storm raged, the CBC NL TV newscast had been newsgathering throughout the day to bring viewers the latest at 6pm. But about an hour before airtime, the power went out in many places, including the CBC which also lost back-up power. The team had to get a show on the air somehow. The CBC NL team coordinated with colleagues at CBC Halifax, linking up with that control room to broadcast to audiences in Newfoundland and Labrador. Using a dejero connected to their control room, the NL team created a makeshift studio in the station's loading bay, with a garage door opened to show audiences how bad the storm was. With one camera, a mic, a flip-board behind-the-scenes for the producer to write notes, host Anthony Germain went on the air. Germain brought in reporters and others to bring audiences the latest survival information and details about the storm. The colleagues at CBC Halifax assisted by interviewing the mayor since the power outage prevented CBC NL from doing that. Without the ability for playback (since the servers went offline), much of the material gathered in the day could not be used except for a few b-roll shots already saved by CBC NS before the power failure, so the hosts and reporters worked with the elements they had to best keep audiences informed. This is truly an example of breaking news and overcoming challenges at its best. Despite a ravaging storm, hurricane force winds, and a power outage, the CBC NL team went on the air with its 6pm newscast "Here&Now;" to deliver breaking news and survival information to its audience.

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

our journalists and technical team, plus the control room team and hosts from CBC Nova Scotia, helping get Here&Now; broadcast during the power outage.

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