Covering a deadly manhunt with precision – on a tight deadline

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Source: The Morning Journal - A shocking photo taken during the manhunt. Photographer Jim Bobel was in the right place at the right time.

At around 8:30 p.m. last Dec. 12, staffers at The Morning Journal in Lorain, OH learned to shift focus to breaking news – even while on tight deadline — when police announced they were hunting for a man — who would later kill himself. During the manhunt, a deputy was shot via“friendly fire.”
Veteran photographer Jim Bobel and reporter Allison Strouse rushed to the scene while reporter Rick Payerchin manned the phones. Editor-in-Chief Tom Skoch updated the website, Facebook, Twitter and sent SMS text alerts. Photos and video were posted to the web and, in follow-up coverage, TMJ live streamed press conferences.
The stories and the follow-up coverage drew 25,225 page views. Skoch blogged about the tools used to cover the story and then the user reactionto how it was covered, and a TMJ Community Media Lab blogger wrote about the shootout through the prism of mental health issues.
Skoch’s advice on fast-moving breaking stories: “Just be flexible and fast. Be ready to scrap your original plans for the night and throw everything you’ve got into getting the big new story.”

Using ScribbleLive technology to cover severe weather in the Denver-area

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Screenshot: The introduction to The Denver Post's live blog

In covering a snowstorm, The Denver Post used a free trial of the live-blog tool ScribbleLive. The idea came to Social Media Editor Dan Petty after he was impressed with other news organization live-blogging efforts.

Petty curated Tweets using the #COwx hashtag and searched for “Colorado snow,” “Denver snowstorm,” etc. He pulled from Facebook

Screenshot: The Denver Post used ScribbleLive to capture weather news live

posts, news organizations, bloggers and The Denver Post used their own content. All the content was posted in a live-blog with traffic coming from a main story. The Denver Post encouraged readers to submit photos through a Google submission form, attached live radars and widgets.

Six different reporters contributed, the blog got more than 300 shares on Facebook, was retweeted 137 times and had a dozen comments. The blog got a total of 5,581 page views.

Petty said for other newsrooms experimenting, have multiple contributors.

Google Plus Hangout with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

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On Dec. 22, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder participated in a Google Plus hangout hosted by The Macomb Daily and The Oakland Press in order to inform readers. Topics included specific initiatives, year in review, political climate, national politics and personal information.

Karen Workman, community engagement editor at The Oakland Press, said a reporter and editor used one computer. At The Oakland Press, a third staffer sat off-camera to curate the meeting and three Flipcams were used to capture the meeting. The Oakland Press Online Editor Stephen Frye said the main stress was the bandwidth but there were no issues.

The end result included text stories, a Storify capturing live Tweets and three videos. From The Macomb Daily, Snyder’s dramatic, controversial moves change state’s culture and Macomb Daily has high-tech talk with Gov. Snyder.

For other staffs trying to experiment, Frye said, “You’re live on camera, so you don’t want to be looking down and reading notes. So know your questions and have fun.”