30 years of J.E: the story of a great news program

30 Years of J.E: The Story of a Great News Show s


The public affairs program enters its 30th season this year. Since the mythical duo formed by Jocelyne Cazin and Gaétan Girouard who presented the very first episode of J.E on September 5, 1993 until the arrival by journalist Félix Séguin, a lot has happened! Four hosts recount memories of their time at the helm of this show originally designed to help citizens.

Jocelyne Cazin

FROM 1993 TO 2001

The genesis of street journalism

Few days go by without Jocelyne Cazin being talked about about J.E “People still identify me with J.E. Even 21 years later, people still talk to me very often about this show”, explains the speaker and author who is about to launch her first novel: a political and police thriller combining the reality of an investigative journalist and fiction.&nbsp. ;

At 71, the one who was the first woman in news stories on the radio remembers as if it were yesterday the birth of J.E (which was then just a working title meaning “electronic diary”). It was 1993 and after four years hosting the news at Salut bonjour, she found herself in an office with Gaétan Girouard who was chatting with a boss of a new show aiming to replace < em>911. 

  • Listen to the court segment with Félix Séguin broadcast live daily at 8:35 a.m. via QUB radio:

“All summer , we brainstormed, we built a small team and we wanted to do some street story, so a bit of everything while going outside with the camera on the shoulder of the cameraman, a first in Quebec. It was our first idea.”

The first two stories she covered for J.E? A neighbors feud over a fence story and the frauds of a contractor who pocketed customers' money without ever getting the job done. It was by capturing the images of the latter who was trying to flee like a lion in a cage that the formula J.E.  

“The logo of J.Ebecame so powerful and it still is today, ”explains the former host who was nicknamed the information pitbull. She explains that it was the journalist Louise Cousineau who, a few months later, had first written J.E for “effective journalism”, then J.E for “journalisme d' investigation”. 

Having done too many good things to be able to name them all, Jocelyne Cazin affirms that it is the fact of having worked and rubbed shoulders with the late Gaétan Girouard that remains her fondest memory.   

“He was a man of great intelligence and very friendly, I was like his big sister, says the one who had 15 years of difference with his accomplice who took his own life at the age of 33. We had a great bond, we both respected each other so much!”

“I experienced the best and the worst with J.E“, continues the one who has already spit in the face, who received his share of death threats and even appeared on a motorcycle gang's kill list.

“We had 250 lawsuits when I left < em>J.E, but very few have gone to court. This stressed Gaétan a lot, who was insecure and a perfectionist, I talk about this at greater length in my book My true identity. I must admit that from 1998 to the end, I often looked under my car.

His pride is in all these times when they were able to help victims, poor people, sometimes a little naive, and often elderly. These moments when they felt useful by helping victims to defend themselves against individuals, entrepreneurs, but also sometimes against institutions, such as banks. 

His time is one that has put J.E on the map,” she said. “This had never been seen in Quebec, a show with a handheld camera in which journalists went to others to get answers and help victims get out of trouble.”


October 1998: Pierre Bourque Inquiry

Pierre Bourque, then mayor of Montreal, confronted about one of his candidates who was having trouble with the law. “We were in the street to confront him. He refused to answer my questions and even nearly got run over by a car, but I held him back… Quite a story!” says Jocelyne Cazin.

▶ September 2000 : Franchisees cheated from Montignac centers

The famous gentleman “The more I eat the more I lose weight” had offered business people to buy Montignac franchises at prices of up to $50,000 to have exclusivity for all his products, but six months later , the products were found everywhere in supermarkets. “I remember going to confront him at the airport and him running with his basket. He even snatched my microphone from me, it was a great TV moment (laughs). » 

Jocelyne Cazin gives lectures on suicide prevention. formax.qc.ca/portfolio/jocelyne-cazin-conferenciere/

The release of her novel Worse than eternity< /em> is scheduled for release on October 13

She has also published two other books: J 'dare to disturb and My true identity

Annie Gagnon

FROM 2001 TO 2013

A shift in consumption

Annie Gagnon went from journalist taking part in the program J.E for two years, before the departure of Jocelyne Cazin, to co-host with Pierre Jobin and Karina Marceau, at age 37, then to a duet with Karina Marceau… until becoming the show's solo host. She then paired up with journalist and writer Michel Jean from 2004 until her own departure in 2013. 

“When I was asked to be part of J.E, I was thrilled, because I liked the legal aspect of the show, she explains. I liked going to meet the needs of the widow and the orphan, defending the rights of citizens and going to buster [term used when they went to confront people] the bad guys. I loved the thrill of meeting the offending part of the story.” 

“You never knew what people's reaction would be,” she continues. Some were super calm and some were aggressive. I remember one time when my cameraman was hit on the head with a satchel. Let's say that when you managed to get the person to confess, or at least to ask the person questions, you came back to the office happy.”  

If the shift in consumption made during this period was less appealing to her, as a journalist, than the judicial side that made her vibrate, she nevertheless affirms that this formula of the show has made her a formidable consumer and much more on the lookout. 

“This kind of program more focused on consumption, products and sellers served people enormously by informing them about subjects having a direct impact on their daily lives”, she specifies. 

< p>The 58-year-old host cannot ignore the constant stress experienced at that time either, because of the formal notices, the many hours of waiting, the sometimes dangerous spinning, the unpredictable reactions of people and the no margin of error. Despite everything, she has accumulated a ton of beautiful memories and successes. 

“Today I still think that these are necessary shows (J.E in his formula original, which primarily helped citizens) and I find it unfortunate that less is being done. The idea of ​​redoing J.E with more contemporary flavors, in my opinion, would work well.”


October 2008 and March 2012: Reports on puppy mills

All the animal stories and visits to puppy mills over his years of hosting. “We have been there so many times and the images of the dogs being left in incredible conditions stick in my mind. My last bust was with a dog owner who claimed to breed purebred dogs. He kicked me in the back!” says Annie Gagnon. 

You can hear Annie Gagnon on the radio. She is also working on a web project in the musical field. She also published, in 2014, the book Investigations and quests.

Paul Larocque

FROM 2013 TO 2018

Broaden the spectrum while respecting the DNA of J.E

Paul Larocque saw as a great honor the fact that he was offered to host the show J.E, which he describes as a flagship program in public affairs in Quebec.

“I did not expect it, because I am rather specialized in politics, so when I left, I was really honored and I took the responsibility very seriously, he says. It was a different mandate and I really liked that. If J.E has had an impact [for] so long, it's because the show has known and been able to evolve over time. I believe that each of the animators put the color they wanted in it.” 

For the 64-year-old journalist who took his first steps in the profession in 1977, participating in this program was an extraordinary opportunity to deepen, on a journalistic level, subjects that had always interested him. Without however distorting the “close to the citizen” aspect or abandoning what is the DNA trait of J.E and what has remained over the years. “Finding out and denouncing abusers.”

“We simply broadened the spectrum,” he adds. I really put my personal touch and wanted to deal with my fields of interest such as the police and politics. For me, for example, it was important that people understand what had really happened during the Mégantic rail tragedy by dealing with the subject in an hour-long program (my first at J.E ) so that it doesn't happen again.”


September 2013: The Mégantic tragedy< /p>

“I was really happy, because we managed to find the last employee of the company who had gone to the scene of the train, and it was not the driver. This is an element that came out of the frame, at the trial where the company was cleared. It was a thorough research and investigation work,” says Paul Larocque.

September 2016: Outfitter

The story of a man who had got his hands on an outfitter without ever paying. “A twisted man who went after the J.E team,” he recalled. 

February 2017: Internal investigation (Paul Larocque and Félix Séguin)

A report on the seriousness of the situation at internal SPVM investigations, which had significant governance problems. “This report had a considerable impact on the police department of the City of Montreal which was gangrenous from the inside. We are the first to have exposed the seriousness of the situation and this led to the appointment of Martin Prud'homme to straighten out the SPVM. It's a show that marked me.” 

Paul Larocque hosts the shows La joust and Le review< /strong> on LCN. He will take over from Pierre Bruneau, who recently hosted the last Face-to-Face of his career during the Quebec election campaign. 

Marie-Christine Bergeron

FROM 2018 TO 2020

More detailed surveys

Incredibly rewarding and hectic years and incredible luck: this is how Marie-Christine Bergeron qualifies her years of animation and investigations on the show J.E.

“This kind of he show is necessary and important, launches the one who loved to confront charlatans. It is a pride to have this kind of program in Quebec, the mark of J.Eis strong. It is important to confront people with lesser-known realities, especially vulnerable people who are being abused. The idea was also to denounce people in all walks of life. The shenanigans, the fraudsters and the people who do illegal things.” 

The journalist who saw Gaétan Girouard as a role model said she was happy that her time at the helm of J.E coincided with the reconnection of the show with its original mission. 

“We felt that J.Ecame back to the denunciation of crimes and the confrontation of criminals, explains the one who loved contact with the public. We had great ratings. People still tell me about it. I remember returning from vacation when I had 1500 messages on my voicemail and in my emails. Often, the raw material was people's stories.”

She says that every investigation she worked hard on for J.Ewill remain inside her and that the investigation mode will always inhabit her. “Often, the victims said thank you to us after the show and it was our victory and the best payday ever.” 


▶ November 2019: The Illusionist

What seemed like a typical story of a man who held out the prospect of a modeling career to young girls turned out to be the story of an Israeli fraudster who was well known in his country. “We managed to get him deported and I even made headlines in Israel and took part in interviews in Hebrew. When your investigation has an international scope, you say to yourself: mission successful!”

September 2019 and February 2020: In the name of faith and Hostages of faith: Investigation of the sectarian group Mission of the Holy Spirit

The story of young girls forced to marry at 14 and have lots of children, young people who have lost their lives as children. “I had worked there for six months and this investigation had even had political repercussions,” says Marie-Christine Gagnon.

October 2020: Dirty hands

People who, during the pandemic, were making illegal Purell. “We had it tested and it was only 12% alcohol. It was a satisfying investigation, because we were able to put a stop to it.”

Marie-Christine Bergeron is the anchor of Fil 17 on NOOVO Info. She is also preparing two documentaries which will be presented on TVA and CRAVE soon.