Sometimes you don’t need a new story idea. You just use a good idea that has worked before. Newsrooms around the country provided extensive coverage last year of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, much of it focused on sharing people’s memories of that unforgettable day.
That doesn’t mean the same technique wouldn’t work again this year. Monica Drake, community engagement editor at the Oakland Press, sent along this message about this year’s community-memory project.
I figured that most people remember exactly where they were when they first heard about the planes hitting the World Trade Center. On the front page of The Oakland Press last week, we asked readers to submit their stories of where they were when they heard the news. I also set up a Google voice account where people could leave voicemails of their responses — and made a video with these. (more…)
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Posted in storytelling, tagged 9/11, Bob Kerrey, Marvin Hamlisch, Mike Buttry, Mike Johanns, Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha World-Herald, Peter Tomsen, Susie Buffett, Thomas Gouttierre, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Warren Buffett, World Trade Center on September 10, 2011 |
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I spent much of the year after 9/11 writing about the impact of that terrorist attack. I was a national correspondent for the Omaha World-Herald. The nation’s only academic center for Afghanistan studies was at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and I wrote dozens of stories about our city’s involvement with Afghanistan before and after the attack.
A story that stands out in my memory was part of our first anniversary package. I wrote about the day before the attack, 10 years ago today. Today, I’ll review that story, published Sept. 10, 2002, discussing the storytelling techniques involved.
A cliché about reporting (and many aspects of life: I got 57,000 hits when I Googled to see where to attribute the phrase) is that you zig when others zag. On the first anniversary of 9/11, everyone was writing stories about that day a year earlier, just as journalists this week have been writing and broadcasting stories about that day 10 years ago. That was zagging. I wanted to zig, to write about something else. So I wrote about the day before:
The big change for many in the Omaha area that day was the closing of the westbound lanes on the Interstate 480 bridge across the Missouri River.
The next day everything changed. (more…)
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Posted in Maya's return from Haiti, Personal, tagged 2008 Iowa floods, 9/11, ABC News, adoption, Central Texas Orphan Mission Alliance, Chuck Hagel, Good Morning America, Haiti earthquake, Mandy Poulter, Matt Poulter, Maya Poulter, Mike Buttry, Mimi Johnson, Molly Rossiter, Nightline, Oklahoma City bombing, Robin Roberts, Tom Harkin, Venezuela mudslides, Washington Post on January 15, 2010 |
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Update: Maya Esther is in the United States. Read the update.
A journalist gets an unusual perspective on disaster stories.
Chances are you remember the Oklahoma City bombing from the horrific television images of the demolished building or the heart-rending photograph of a firefighter carrying a dead baby from the building. I remember the bombing from the grit in the air I could feel and taste covering the aftermath in downtown Oklahoma City.
You may have forgotten about the catastrophic mudslides that hit Venezuela in 1999. I will never forget walking with a woman on a devastated mountainside as she pointed at homes where she and relatives once lived. “Es mi casa,” she said, gesturing to some rubble, part of it recognizable as the top of a wall, the rest of her home swept away or buried in mud hardened like concrete. Another woman recalled that horrible night, gesturing downward with her arm, talking about the terror that came rushing down the mountainside, repeating, “cadave” — corpses sliding down in a torrent of mud.
My role as editor of The Gazette during the 2008 flood has received plenty of attention, so I won’t belabor it here. And I recently recalled my role covering the 9/11 attack from a distance. In a career that started in the 1970s, I have covered dozens of tornadoes, floods and other disasters as a reporter and editor. The stories are emotional. You can’t help but feel the human impact, sharing joy and heartbreak with people you interview. But you develop a sort of professional shell that helps you function and keeps you from feeling too deeply.
This week I learned a bit of what it’s like to be one of those people I used to cover, waiting anxiously to learn whether a loved one had survived, trying to bring her to safety. (more…)
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Posted in 2008 Iowa floods, Complete Community Connection, Personal, tagged 2008 Iowa floods, 9/11, Aardvark, American Press Institute, C3, Des Moines Register, Facebook, Flickr, Gazette, LinkedIn, mobile first, Newspaper Next, No Train No Gain, Omaha World-Herald, SlideShare, TripIt, Twitter, YouTube on December 30, 2009 |
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This decade is ending with much less fanfare than the past one, which was the turn of both a century and a millennium.
This decade passed without really getting a name — the Oughts didn’t quite stick, like I guess they did a century earlier (they so didn’t stick that I don’t even know or care whether Oughts or Aughts would be the preferred spelling).
If you don’t have much patience for self-indulgent reflections, this might be a good time to go read something else, because I’m going to look back on the past decade of my career. (more…)
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