A different way to handle reporting a storm
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 9:00 PM
Wow! Were you able to get to work during the Great Snow of '14?
Frank has reported on the news, events and people of west-central Indiana for years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After several years of catching a break when it came to winter weather, the averages finally caught up with us in the worst storm in decades, with some comparing it to the Blizzard of '78, which also came in January, around the 11th, if I recall.
How things have changed.
In 1978, the winter storm shut down everything and, really, began a great change in how we do things.
I remember laying in my bed in my apartment above Bob and Sally Remley's Fashion Shoes, playing Solitaire and watching the first all-night movies on WISH-TV while the storm howled outside. Until then, Indianapolis TV went off the air after the late show or Johnny Carson and signed back on in time for the farm report the next morning. During the blizzard, WISH-TV ran old movies with cut-ins for weather and news updates.
During the Great Snow of '14 I was once again snowed in but was able to work, thanks to that great new innovation invented by Al Gore, the Internet.
I started filing pre-storm stories on our website on Saturday morning after covering the North Montgomery at North Putnam basketball game Friday night.
As forecasts changed, we updated our website all weekend, calling news sources and writing new stories as well as passing on road information from INDOT, Montgomery County and the City of Crawfordsville while our competition's website hadn't been updated since Friday.
Our managing editor, Neil Burk, and I stayed in touch by e-mail, text and phone while he and John Minor took care of news stories and sports cancellation stories in Crawfordsville.
Then, Al Gore's great invention went out, not only at our house but New Wave, our Internet provider, lost service to thousands of customers all over Indiana.
What to do?
That's when we turned to another great invention, the smart phone. So I wrote stories for the web and the paper on my cell phone (I'm too cheap to pay the extra $25 a month to tether my laptop to my cell phone for Internet service.) Writing a 300 word story using a cell phone keyboard is interesting, to say the least.
It is no secret that I live outside Montgomery County. The Great Recession of '07 has limited my housing choices.
One day I went to The Brazil Times. Jeanne, the general manager at my former newspaper welcomed me and let me borrow their Internet connection for the day.
I was very happy to get back to the office once the travel warning was lifted, but it was fun to find new ways to be a reporter when conditions demanded it.