The startling story of a three-year-old boy abducted from his home in Sparwood made national headlines last year and now has earned Nelson’s Bob Keating, a CBC Radio reporter, a chance at a prestigious BC journalism award.
Jack Webster award finalists were announced Friday. Keating’s collection of radio broadcasts, Finding Kienan, is in the running for Best Radio News Reporting.
“It was one of the most compelling stories of my career without question,” said Keating, a 25 year veteran reporter for CBC Radio.
Kienan Hebert was stolen in his sleep by Randall Hopley on September 8, 2011 only to be returned home unharmed four days later. Two days after that, Hopley was found hiding in a cabin near the Crowsnest Pass in Alberta.
“It was a remarkable story,” Keating said. “I talked to police officers who had been on the beat for decades had never seen anything like it.”
Keating said he wrote hundreds of stories on the kidnapping when it occurred, providing material for the CBC’s radio and website reports, as well as television broadcasts.
“We got a lot of firsts on this. CBC was first to get it on air, first talk to Randall Hopley’s mother who issued a plea to him to turn himself in. We were first to accurately describe the take down on the Alberta pass,” Keating said.
He submitted 10 of his best radio broadcasts to the Jack Webster Foundation for the award.
Though it’s Keating’s name on the nomination, he said many other CBC reporters contributed to his reports.
“CBC really worked as a team on this one,” he said. “I was getting a lot of help from crews in Vancouver and Alberta. It was a real team effort.”
Keating won his first Webster Award last year for his local story on a Michael Arrack, who was banished from Nelson for criminal harassment.
This is his fourth Webster nomination. Winners will be announced November 1.