WP scrambles to give readers the scoop

There is nothing like a fast-breaking development to get journalists hopping.

We’ve been hopping around a fair bit at The Western Producer of late. On Oct. 5, our production and printing day, the world powers that be decided to announce that the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal had been completed.

We knew the ramifications were important to the ag industry, so we scrambled to pack as much reaction as we could into a few hours.

News editor Terry Fries co-ordinated the coverage, tapping markets reporter Ed White, political reporter Karen Briere and grain and oilseeds guru Brian Cross.

After analyzing the deal as much as one can in such a short period of time, the Producer’s newsroom generated a package of four stories that drew reaction from more than a dozen sources, and critically, from their own backgrounds. Many of our reporters have been covering these issues for years, so they knew where to turn and what questions to ask to address issues that would affect farmers.

Our art director, Michelle Houlden, then produced an eye-catching graphic explaining how the deal resets the trade table for agriculture.

It is those kind of days for which journalists live: trying to answer questions for their readers, who may then begin to explore business opportunities.

No doubt there will be more stories on the TPP deal, especially when the text is released.

Then last week, with the federal election on a Monday, we held back four pages well past our normal deadline to bring the latest analysis on the results. And we quickly went online with information.

Briere fashioned an analysis headlined: “What the Liberal majority government means for farmers.” Briere and reporters Brian Cross and Robin Booker checked in with almost a dozen sources to get a take on how the agricultural landscape would face the new reality of a Liberal government that doesn’t have a deep base in the Prairies. We also offered our view in a late-night editorial. Houlden once again put her talents to the task, producing a map of the Prairies riding by riding.

Much of this work was done after the Liberals were declared winners of a majority government to meet our extended midnight deadline.

Well, we snuck in a few extra minutes, but we knew readers would appreciate it.

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