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Cover Breaking News Across Platforms

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A case study exercise in covering a big breaking story in print and online.

A case study exercise in covering a big breaking story in print and online.

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  • 1. Covering Breaking News Across Platforms Michael Roberts, The Arizona Republic
  • 2. Breaking news across platforms 1. Post first 2. Establish online presence 3. Establish day plan for online & print 4. Pursue online plan, continue to deepen 5. Commit to print plan and execute 6. Overnight online
  • 3. Phoenix helicopter crash
  • 4. 1: POST FIRST Post: Get the first news post, image, or video up as soon as possible Launch coverage: Reporters, photographers, editors, online producers. Responsibilities: Designate rewrite person (off TV-radio; media alerts; phone calls; e-mail) and copy editor; person to handle e-mail alerts and textcast messages; producer to build and update slide shows and other immediate online content. Identify one editor as content coordinator for both online and print.
  • 5. 2: ESTABLISH ONLINE PRESENCE Plan: Brainstorm and identify online elements: News posts; news blog; images (photo; video); stories; reader- submitted photos / video; Goggle mapping; interactive elements; data sets. Post & broadcast: Reach audiences on all platforms: Textcast (i.e. PDAs; cell phones); e-mail newsletter alerts. Open channels: Establish, as appropriate, chats, guest books, e-mail inbox.
  • 6. 2: ESTABLISH ONLINE PRESENCE (CONT.) Aggregate: Create first set of related links, to be embedded in all articles dealing with the story. Can include other online elements, related web sites. Responsibilities: Set clear responsibilities for digital media staff, who owns which piece, how to communicate with each other. Home page: Change homepage template (if appropriate) to reflect big, breaking story. Arrange for more server capacity ahead of time.
  • 7. 3: ESTABLISH DAY PLAN FOR ONLINE & PRINT Plan: While responding to events as they happen, develop a day plan for online package and print package and how to make best use of available resources for both. Identify content / function of each piece, elements that compliment versus repeat each other. Create a preliminary story / content budget list everyone can see. Include (and update) rolling deadlines for all elements for online and print.
  • 8. 3: ESTABLISH DAY PLAN FOR ONLINE & PRINT (CONT.) Aggregate: Create story slugs or takes in the system to centralize incoming news, color, quotes, and sources with contact information. Material can be used online or in print. Responsibilities: Create an expanded staffing / responsibility list everyone can see, with contact numbers, pagers, etc. Identify lead editor(s).
  • 9. 4: PURSUE ONLINE PLAN AND CONTINUE TO DEEPEN Build: As online settles into coverage plan, freshen material as the day continues. Develop quality of each piece, adding and updating. Include more sophisticated features such as staff-generated graphics / maps, flash interactives, slide shows, video. Aggregate: Continue to add core links; material from staff and appropriate outside links.
  • 10. 5: COMMIT TO PRINT PLAN AND EXECUTE Plan: With online coverage as a base, evaluate earlier print plan and adjust as needed. Develop a plan for second day coverage as well. Update budget and rolling deadlines. Edit: Build on online material. Advance story in print, versus repeating news posted online. Report: In addition to reporters in the field, track down potential sources from online chats, e-mails, photos and other content generated by online for possible print use.
  • 11. 6: OVERNIGHT ONLINE Plan: Identifying elements of immediacy / urgency that need to be refreshed through the night and in the morning. Update site as news cycle changes to morning, with stories and visuals. Maintain links to related material. Continue brainstorming and extension of rolling deadlines for online coverage going into the next day. Responsibilities: Continue to update budget and staffing responsibilities.
  • 12. Exercise
  • 13. 10 am Tanker truck rolls in accident at the busiest intersection (or freeway exchange) blocking all traffic.
  • 14. 1: POST FIRST What are the first sources of information? What are the first images? Who will do what?
  • 15. 10:30 am School bus with high school marching band is badly damaged by tanker in accident, along with 5 other cars and an SUV. EMS on the way. Tanker labeled as carrier of harsh herbicide. One caller says there is a bad chemical smell.
  • 16. 2: ESTABLISH ONLINE PRESENCE What will be is the online plan or budget? What multimedia / web functions will you have?
  • 17. 11 am SUV contains the governor and an aide, both trapped inside vehicle but alive. TV says woman in another car appears to be dead. People on the scene try to free band from bus as fire and EMS arrive. State police cordon off area. Cel phone images reach news tip line email.
  • 18. 3: ESTABLISH DAY PLAN FOR ONLINE & PRINT What will be the focus online coverage by afternoon or evening? What will be the focus of print coverage in next day’s newspaper?
  • 19. 1 pm Governor is freed from SUV, walks to ambulance. Female in SUV is lifted out on stretcher. Police issue an alert for man seen running from scene, believed to be the driver of another car involved in the accident. Woman confirmed dead. Everyone else involved injured.
  • 20. 4: PURSUE ONLINE PLAN AND CONTINUE TO DEEPEN What material is core of package? What other sites or material can be linked?
  • 21. 2 pm Police say harsh smell unrelated to accident; no leakage from tanker. Names of all injured released. High school marching band boards replacement bus and continues to game.
  • 22. 5: COMMIT TO PRINT PLAN AND EXECUTE What material will be core of print coverage?

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