Tropical Storm Fay

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Position: - News Editor

Tropical Storm Fay was the biggest storm to hit Florida’s First Coast in three years. For days the streets flooded, power blinked through the area and Jacksonville’s bridges were intermittently closed.

We knew our typical template wouldn’t handle the amount of information we were receiving and processing. So, developer Kevin Basarab and I overhauled the site’s homepage. The two of us, in about two hours, recoded the site to take advantage of a more Twitter-like updating process.

From previous breaking news events, we knew we didn’t want to just keep updating a single long-form story. A longer story didn’t show the incremental updates that our audience needed/wanted. This new format allowed us to really give bursts of information in an easier to follow format. The site also was quite modular. We were able to move chunks of information around on the site, depending on the news. So stories were moved in the upper left for parts of the day, and closings were displayed in that position during others.

Kevin, Social Media Editor Jonathan Bennett and I directed the flow of all information for online for several days during the storm. We worked shifts from 5 a.m. until late evening, when our copy desk would monitor developments until we came back on duty.

We also took advantage of our Twitter feed, @jaxdotcom, and helped bring new followers in with our coverage. Our Twitter followers gave us information and photos from the scene.

Our work garnered us several awards, including two monthly achievement citations and nominations for year-end citations.

The Times-Union staff won best hurricane coverage from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors for the coverage in print and online.

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