28 Dec Covering superstorm Sandy
It was the biggest storm to hit Long Island in decades. Not officially designated a hurricane by the time it hit our area, superstorm Sandy packed a punch that will be felt for months, if not years, to come.
With 13 deaths, thousands of houses flooded or entirely destroyed, the Long Island landscape changed in some areas, some called it the area’s Katrina.
Editors bunkered down for a long stretch as reporters and photographers tirelessly spread throughout Long Island, telling the stories of literally hundreds of victims, and those that helped their neighbors, in the days following Sandy in a constant web stream.
Social media played a huge factor in getting the word out, as reporters shared their experiences and got story ideas for days. Notably, Instagram played a big role. Thanks to some tech wizardry, reporters’ and photographers’ Instagram photos were fed into a photo gallery on newsday.com, directly connecting the power of social media with our standard web presence. Reporters could also share the photos simultaneously on Twitter and Facebook, casting an even bigger net.
In this experience, on a large scale smartphones became the indispensable source for getting the news back to home base.
We also used our hyperlocal abilities to allow readers to drill down for stories, photos, videos and other resources by township and by community.
What I found was that, amid the devastation, was the chance for journalists to use their skills to their full potential, and for people to show their generosity, heroism and kind spirits. Both lived up to those demands. And they will need to continue doing so.