People say they tune in to our program for many reasons: to be informed, enlightened, entertained. It's a tricky balance for a program in which the content is determined by the news of the day.
There were three heavy-hitting stories this week. Firstly, an exclusive interview we aired with the Moncton woman who in 2010 was abducted, held captive and sexually assaulted for nearly a month. Secondly, the ongoing coverage of the Curtis Bonnell murder trial in Miramichi.
And finally, we carried the latest developments from the coroner's inquest into the death of Moncton teen Ashley Smith in a federal prison. This included audio and images from videos taken of her treatment while incarcerated that were released to the public this week after months of legal wrangling.
Here's a sample of the feedback we received. First the Ashley Smith story:
"Absolutely shocking. We pay taxes for a child with compromised capacity to be handled like this????????!!!! I am very glad the CBC helped force this out into the glare of daylight."
To the interview with the abduction/assault victim: " What an amazing woman! She did a great job with the interview. Not an easy story to recount, but this is just another testimony to her strength. She is such an inspiration to all of us! God Bless you, "D"!"
Others were not pleased: "I have to concur that the coverage about the assault was disturbing and I did not feel appropriate at that time of day. Normally your show is uplifting and energizing but these last few mornings I have shut off the radio."
(As a sidebar, the victim said she wanted to share her story with us to let people know she was ok, after receiving many enquiries and expressions of support.)
Another listener was none too happy with the any of the coverage: "It seems you had your Halloween trick today,three items: one on murder, one on rape and kidnapping,and one on suicide...I can't think of
any faster way to make me turn off the radio and go back to sleep."
Obviously we don't want people to turn off their radios. We understand these are difficult things to hear. There is a great deal of thought and discussion behind the decisions of what we cover. People come down on both sides of the debate around what is in the public interest and what is sensational. We do warn listeners in advance if the content is disturbing. We do try to inject lighter material to give listeners a breather. But if our role as a news and current affairs program is to reflect the stories of the day, what affects people in our communities, to feed curiousity without exploiting the subject, then sometimes we have to talk about difficult events when they happen.