I think the review of the Eastlink Events Centre (EEC) in Clarenville ranks as one of my favourite stories from this year.
I think it’s an example of the in-depth, inclusive content that SaltWire Network is aiming for.
The story laid bare the finances of one of the town’s most expensive undertakings, and begged the question, is the cost worth it?
I think the facts were laid out in a comprehensive and cohesive manner, with councilor and finance chair Paul Tilley acting as a voice to explain the numbers and why the town feels justified in supporting a structure that loses about $500,000 annually and makes up just under 10 per cent of the town’s budget.
Numbers from the past decade included showed this is a trend, and not simply a bad season.
The story also had a forward-looking angle, with both Tilley and EEC manager Brandon Reardon explaining how council is looking to make the building and programming more cost efficient in the future.
Supporting stories offered a brief history of the EEC – even giving brief details of the very first hockey game played in the stadium – as well as the town’s recreation budget at a glance.
I think this story mattered to people because it is their tax dollars going to support the EEC, whether they ever step inside the building or not.
I’d like to do more stories like this. They do take time, and do not simply happen overnight. Two, even three interviews may be required, photos need to be taken, and documents requested, and for that reason I think it ranks as a high value story.