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A week where NewsOK and Oklahoma returned to normal operations (there was no snow)

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

This week will forever be known as the week after two straight weeks of snowstorms that shut down our state. Our weather returned to normal. Our site layout returned to normal. And the traffic on NewsOK returned to normal daily numbers.

Apple makes it official

This is big news in our circles, no matter how you feel about it. After much speculation and rumor, Apple made their announcement on Tuesday, and the publishing world took notice. Some leaders in the publishing industry like Apple’s decision. Plenty of others do not. Here’s what our publisher, David Thompson, said: “We were glad to see Apple come to a conclusion on this. Though we still need some clarification, we look forward to working with Apple to mutually benefit our readers.” Thompson added that The Oklahoman’s iPad application continues to gain traction in our market. We are seeing growth in subscription numbers each week. Here’s the bottom line: We believe the iPad is an important device to deliver our content to. We will be working to make the product better and offer a solution for our readers on that device.

Political compliment

An old friend who works at a major metropolitan newspaper said something nice about NewsOK a week or so ago. Her news company was looking to increase the visibility of their politics coverage … “We just had a meeting to talk about our politics page online. I had looked at yours the other day and was impressed, so I pointed to it during the meeting. Everyone really liked it!” That was very kind. Our political coverage team works really hard to bring readers the information that’s important for our community. And I know that other major news companies have the same goals. If one of them like what we’ve done, that’s great. I know we’re borrowed plenty of ideas from other sites, including the one my friend works at.

Capitol tour

Speaking of our politics page, check out the Capitol building tour that we launched last year.  It’s a floor-by-floor tour of Oklahoma’s state capitol. We built this last year, and it’s pretty fun to browse around. There are photos from many locations throughout the building, including some panoramic photos of key areas. We have featured that project this week with our multimedia showcase, which is just below our main stories on the NewsOK home page.

‘Do you really know what you are doing?’

Another item we featured in the multimedia showcase this week is our story from last February about about Oklahoma’s first heart transplant in 1985. The nDepth: Stories of the Ages presentation tells the story behind the story of Dr. Nazih Zuhdi’s 1985 medical first. This is one of my absolute favorite nDepth pieces we’ve put together. It serves as a great documentary piece, with archived video, insightful interviews and an historic perspective on the transplant. But I just love the dialogue between the  assisting doctor, Dr. Allen Greer, and Dr. Zuhdi. “Do you really know what you are doing?” asked Dr. Allen Greer, his surgical partner. “You are going to be surprised,” Zuhdi responded.

Comments reaction

My last blog post generated some interesting reaction.  The reaction came from the note about the comments we were receiving from users in our Archbishop articles. We disabled the comments because none of the comments were contributing to a constructive dialogue. Here’s one e-mail I received: “I appreciate that someone uses common sense in deciding to leave or disable posts. I am shocked at the vulgar, negative posts that are often left on sites. I am disappointed that negative posts were the only ones received regarding the Archbishop’s installation at least early after the article was displayed.  I’m an educator who tries to teach tolerance and understanding to children and adults.  The fact I’m Catholic doesn’t seem to be too important if I lead by example!  Thank you for describing the event in an informational and objective manner.” That made me feel good. I also received a comment on my blog. Here’s an excerpt: “Perhaps the ability for reader’s to flag other reader’s comments for review would be a benefit to implement in the future?  It would allow a certain level of self-policing amongst readers while leaving the ability to block comments or ban to the site editors so that it would not be abused.” The good news is that we actually do just that. We allow our users to flag comments as inappropriate, and our online editors address them within a few minutes. Thank you for your interest in this topic. It’s always good to know that users care enough about our website to share their thoughts on our policies and decisions.

Live Grammy’s coverage

Eminem
Eminem

Sunday night was pretty fun. The Grammy’s were on television, so I got my Eminem fix. (I just want to see him smile … but it didn’t happen. We all lose in that scenario.) But aside from that, I watched two of our best bloggers sharing their thoughts on the show as it happened. George Lang and Brandy McDonnell both spent time live-blogging the event. They did a great job. It’s always so interesting to see the different takes and tones they have on an event like the Grammy’s. They are very different entertainment experts, but they are both very well-informed on all aspects of the entertainment industry. My favorite takes? From George: “Lenny Kravitz, dressed as M’shell Ndegeocello, introduces Muse. How many times can you borrow the beat from “Rock and Roll Part 1″ without being arrested in Thailand?“. And this one from Brandy: “I must say, I don’t get the people who hate Katy Perry anymore than I get those who adore her. Her music is so generic and forgettable I have trouble working up any ire or enthusiasm for it. She’s a perfect example of modern-day pop: All flash, little substance. The only reason I even care about her is she guest-starred on HIMYM, which happens to be one of my fave shows.”

Gundy’s Bieber-fever

We all got a nice laugh on Monday with this blog post from our OSU Sports blog. Seeing Justin Bieber imitate Mike Gundy and his rant is just entertaining stuff. And seeing Mike Gundy talk about how he is now a big Bieber fan is equally entertaining. Sure, Gundy’s phone call is staged, but it’s still entertaining.

Berry is hopping mad

I love our bloggers, in case you couldn’t tell. Berry Tramel’s take on ESPN’s coverage of the OU-Connecticut women’s basketball game was great stuff. And I quote … “But this was an awful idea. It was an awful idea 10 seconds into the game, when any neutral watcher could see this was going nowhere in terms of entertainment value. It was an awful idea at halftime. It remains an awful idea now.” Berry never has a problem telling his readers exactly what he thinks about something. Those same readers are lucky to be able to read him each day on NewsOK.com.

Most popular blog post this week

Oh, by the way, Berry’s post from above stands as the most popular blog post that was on NewsOK this week.

Inhofe squaring off

This blog post by Washington Bureau reporter Chris Casteel is also extremely entertaining. On Tuesday, Chris posted a video of Jim Inhofe having an impromptu debate about gloabal warming with author/activist Mark Hertsgaard and a few others. Chris spends his days interviewing, reporting and writing stories for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. But he also gives us some hidden gems that help give readers a good feel for life in the Senate hallways. Again … I love our bloggers.

2010 Census

Census coverage became a focal point this week. NewsOK was ready. We have an Ongoing Coverage page for the Census already on NewsOK. It has a lot of archived stories and graphics already in place. This week, we added more to that page and enhanced the content. If you like digging through data, this is a great page for you.

Most viewed article & video

We had many articles that performed exceptionally well this week, including a story about Prince Harry being selected as the best man at the royal wedding. But the most viewed article this week was the story about Chad Peery. He is the Oklahoma City police officer who was seriously injured in an altercation at a local bar. That story is a pretty good example of how news flows in our newsroom. We first published information about the altercation late Tuesday night when the breaking news reporter received word of a disturbance. By Wednesday morning, we had more information and some booking mug shots of the men who were arrested. Then, we got more details about the severity of Chad Peery’s injuries. It’s a sad tale. And our audience took notice, which is why the update video, which included video of Peery’s mother talking about his injury was also our most viewed video.

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