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NewsOK – the week of the winter storm

by Alan Herzberger Modified: April 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm •  Published: February 4, 2011

This has been a wild week on NewsOK. We braved the weather (many of us from our kitchen table or home offices). We covered another massive blizzard (by Oklahoma standards). And we informed hundreds of thousands interested customers (yes — we had a bunch of page views, too).

Time-lapse video

Web editor Dane Beavers got stuck in the snow outside the OPUBCO building on Britton and Broadway. It was 6:15 a.m. Tuesday. He called me to let me know he might be late in starting the live chat about the blizzard. It was a chat we were counting on him to moderate. “Drats!” I thought. “Now, I’ll have to launch the chat.” In the end, Dane booked it into the building and launched the chat as I fumbled through the admin console. I imagine his quarter-mile run into the building like he was a fugitive running from the law after a high-speed chase — you know, the car spins to a stop and he opens the door and bolts away. In truth, however, he probably didn’t have near that amount of spirit in his get-away. But he should be commended for his effort. He was one of six or seven people that were in our newsroom that morning.

So in honor of that effort, I will post his favorite video from our coverage. A time-lapse video of the snow. As he said: “This is the best!”

Photographers are the stars

The header here says it all. I was commending Dane on his efforts Tuesday morning (mostly because I turned back and went home a couple hours earlier after trying out the roads). But photo editor Doug Hoke was another brave journalist that got stuck outside the building as he tried to come to work. And members his photography staff — Nate Billings, Sarah Phipps and John Clanton — came up with the idea and produced the time-lapse video. Stars, I tell you. They’re all stars.  John writes about it on the Alternate Crop blog.

Photos are the star

While professional photographers get the best images — the most striking images — of these events. The community at large paints an amazing picture. Check out the hundreds of photos we received to our email address —  You can also look at the hundreds of photos in The Oklahoman’s photo gallery from Tuesday and Wednesday. They take some incredible photos.

Traffic on NewsOK

We had a lot of page views this week. We basically doubled our normal page-view number each day Monday through Friday this week. The most popular pages (even more popular than our home page)? That’s right — the photo galleries that I linked above. People love snow photos.

A stranded motorist reaches for her shovel to try and dig out her car on 15th just west of Broadway in Edmond, Wednesday, February 1, 2011.      Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman
A stranded motorist reaches for her shovel to try and dig out her car on 15th just west of Broadway in Edmond, Wednesday, February 1, 2011. Photo by David McDaniel, The Oklahoman

Class of 2011

If you follow college football, you probably turned your attention away from the bad weather on Wednesday to follow the national college football signing day. Yeah, we got lots of traffic for our winter weather coverage. But we got another big boost with college football signing day coverage on Wednesday. We had a special coverage page with details on all the players that signed to play at OU and Oklahoma State. We also had live chats with some of the players at scheduled times throughout the day. It was really stellar coverage, and the sports department should once-again be commended for such thorough coverage.

Berry’s post of the week

Berry Tramel had a great post this week, and it happened to be related to our college football signing day package. He asked the same question I’ve often asked out loud: “Who uses a fax machine anymore?” He even offered a link to a story the Wall Street Journal produced about the same topic. But the most interesting part was when he relayed sports editor Mike Sherman’s response to him in an email as they discussed the Wall Street Journal story: “Next time you say something brilliant, let’s do something brilliant with it.” Now that’s great insight on how stories are produced (or unfortunately, not produced, in this case) on a daily basis.

Making mobile work

I had the opportunity Friday to speak at the Oklahoma Press Association Mid-Winter Convention. I was part of a panel discussion about making news mobile. We discussed The Oklahoman’s iPad application, the series of iPhone apps we have and our general strategy and goals with mobile news delivery. But the real honor? We were the warm-up act for Gov. Mary Fallin, who spoke minutes after I left the stage. My colleague, Jay Spear, commented: “Funny how the room looks more full now than it did when we were up there.

Fallin on the juvenile affairs

One of the things Mary Fallin was asked about after she spoke on Friday was the controversy at the Office of Juvenile Affairs. I don’t sit through many Q&As with the Governor, so I was quite interested in the exchange. Let’s face it, our coverage of the controversy is the kind of journalistic work that make me proud to be affiliated with NewsOK and The Oklahoman. The Governor said she hadn’t had a chance to meet with the agency director, yet, but that she was pleased that the bidding process was going through a thorough review.

Women in Prison

The Oklahoma Watch series on Women in Prison picked up speed this past weekend with three stories. The premise of the series: Oklahoma sends more women to prison than any other state on a per capita basis and has for 14 of the past 15 years. It begs the question “Why?” It should be a very interesting series, which is being led by the Oklahoma Watch non-profit group and worked on in conjunction with many of the state’s top media companies.

The week’s top article

The top article on NewsOK this week was the article from Tuesday about the woman who was killed in the sledding accident following the blizzard. That story contained most of the details regarding the storm that day, so it served as an overall weather story most of the day on Tuesday.

The week’s top video

This is well-deserved … it’s a video of Dave Morris interviewing weather blogger Bryan Painter who spent Monday night through Wednesday afternoon at the Emergency Operations Center. He did an incredible job of keeping Oklahomans up to date on with his live blogging, his reporting for The Oklahoman and his live chatting on the site. Talk about coverage heroes — Bryan’s one of them:

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by Alan Herzberger
Digital Managing Editor
Alan Herzberger is the Digital Managing Editor for and The Oklahoman. He focuses on content within OPUBCO Communications Group’s variety of digital products. He’s been with The Oklahoman since 1997, when he joined the sports...
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