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Archive for August 23rd, 2007

Findlay’s flooding, breaking news efforts

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

As an Ohioan (sorry guys, I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself a “Hoosier” even if I end up here for a good long time), I’ve been watching all the stories about massive flooding with great interest.

This morning, I noticed an AP story, Ohio residents displaced by flooding look to return home, as a breaking news item on jconline. When I clicked on it one thing struck me immediately: It was datelined Findlay, Ohio.

For those who don’t know, I interned at The Courier in Findlay last summer. And I assure you, no story nearly as exciting as Main Street and virtually everywhere else flooding occurred. In fact, when I pulled up the site I noticed immediately the picture of Main Street flooded. Dude. I LIVED on Main Street last summer probably a block from where that photo was taken. That’s a scary thought.

Last summer, the paper was just beginning to experiment with breaking news and video and all the things that many papers had already tapped. But, it was a small paper in a largely rural (everyone considered Findlay and it’s 40,000 residents “the city”) area. So, it was with trepidation that I logged on to the paper’s site today. I was hopeful, but I was also scared I’d be let down.

I wasn’t. Though the presentation is still lacking (and I’m still annoyed and baffled as to why they put all their stories on a single page?), the content all topping the front page is exactly what readers want to know and very easy to find. I also love that they’re inviting users to submit their flood photos (check out the Breaking News / Flooding sidebar at the top of the site).

Other things that didn’t used to be there, which I noticed as I quickly scanned the site, included a new Staff blog about upcoming stories, etc., and a whole multimedia collection (including several flooding related items). There are still things about the site that annoy me, like the stories being on one page and the photos running very low resolution and tiny. But all in all, I can see how far the paper’s come in a year, and I’m so excited for them and for the people of Findlay/Hancock County and outlying areas.

Kudos guys!

QOTD: America is not a place where the small gesture goes noticed…

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

“America is not a place where the small gesture goes noticed. We’re not a country like France, where charm, something light or effervescent, can survive. We want everything you have and we want it as fast as you can turn it out. I read an interview with Frank Sinatra in which he said about Judy Garland, ‘Every time she sings, she dies a little.’ That’s how much she gave. That’s true for writers, too, who hope to create something lasting: they die a little getting it right. And then the book comes out and there’s a dinner and maybe they give you a prize. And then comes the inevitable and very American question: what’s next? But the next thing can be so hard because now you know what it demands.”
— Harper Lee (as played by Sandra Bullock), “Infamous”