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A crazy week, and it’s only half over

Sparse updates on here usually means one thing: crazy week. It has been, and I’ve been drained by the time I came home. But it’s good crazy.

It’s a busy news week in Lafayette. The biggest news being, of course, they found the body of the missing Purdue student Monday. Between getting the story and getting it online followed with second day coverage, it was pretty much go-go-go. And I only played a small part. (Imagine how tired my editor must feel.)

I’m not going to talk about any of the content in the coverage itself for obvious reasons. But I will say, I was totally impressed with how it came together and how we quickly got the news out there and followed with impact coverage. The first story confirming the body’s identity was posted about 15 minutes after the press conference began (while it was still going on), with steady updates throughout the day.

No doubt people wanted the news, and they were looking for it at the J&C. Both Monday and subsequently Tuesday set new records for page views on the site. What impressed me most was how there was no question of holding anything back. It was every body and every resource. Photo galleries, video, half a dozen reporters (on a dozen reporter staff). And as soon as we had it, or part of it, it was online, right then.

And that story was only part of the news going on this week. We still covered a lot of other big news events for the community.

I think if I wasn’t a convert already, this week would totally have won me over to the brillance of immediate news online. I’m not even one of those reporters who got into journalism for the adrenaline rush. Hardly. But it’s hard not to get caught up in something that big. If there was anyone in the newsroom holding back — I don’t really think there was; it’s a forward-looking paper that emphasizes and is expanding Web coverage, which was part of its appeal to me — they can’t possibly have reservations any longer. (Disclosure: It’s a Gannett paper, so that whole info center thing, say what you will, it worked.)

I know it might seem like I’m blown away, but take into consideration that this is the first major story I’ve worked on outside of college. (Remember, I graduated about three months ago. The student went missing the same weekend I moved here to start this job.) I got to work on some major stories at Kent State and even direct coverage of some, but this is different. It’s the first real-world test I think we’ve gotten to see of how it all comes together. It’s one thing to talk about immediately posting things online, getting video and photo galleries, setting up forums and letting the communication flow. It’s entirely different to see it, to watch it and be part of it from the front line. And the audience gobbled it up.

All right. Here’s to a few slow news days for the rest of this week, at least until this county can catch its breath. ;)

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