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AJAs 2020 Finalists

Mass murder coverage


Date Aired or Published From April 19, 2020 to the present
Media outlet where first aired or published: Halifax Examiner
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

On Saturday night, April 18, 2020, a man named Gabriel Wortman went on a murderous rampage, killing 13 of his neighbours in the small town of Portapique, Nova Scotia. The next morning, his killing spree continued, as he drove a replica RCMP cruiser across much of the province, murdering nine more people en route, before he was killed by police at a gas station outside Halifax. The tragedy left Nova Scotians traumatized and looking for answers, but both the RCMP and the courts were not forthcoming with information. And so the Halifax Examiner team hit the ground running, especially in the immediate days after the tragedy, working non-stop to discover what happened, how, and why. The Examiner broke many stories related to the mass murders. And our coverage extended to commentary and holding authority to account — including by joining a media consortium that hired a lawyer to have search warrant documents related to the murder investigation unsealed by the courts. That effort continues to this day.

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

Especially in the immediate aftermath of the murders, many on the Examiner team got little to no sleep for days at a time. Thousands of hours of staff time have gone into this reporting. On the financial front, it's impossible to arrive at an exact figure, but between staff costs and legal fees associated with court application to unseal search warrant documents, total costs for the Examiner easily exceed $100,000.

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