It has been 48 hours since we made our first post on @TrackingIke. It feels like 48 days.
I’m working as mission control here in Austin for the Twitter count that I set up to serve as a vehicle for our Hurricane Ike coverage. I’m worn out; but I think it has all been worth it.
First off, our staff in the field — Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, Tony Plohetski, Jay Janner, Marty Toohey, Laura Skelding and Patrick George — have been doing an excellent job reporting from the coast. They left Wednesday for Corpus Christi and Victoria (back when we thought it would hit that far south) and have found their way into downtown Houston.
Tony, Jorge and Jay spent a lot of time on Galveston Island, but with monster storm surge coming even early today, we pulled them back to downtown Houston. Along the way, this crew has run into some interesting characters, found some die-hards who ignore evacuation orders, attended a hurricane party, found some massive flooding in Surfside and even streamed video live from their car as they drove around Houston’s nearly empty streets.
But if you’ve been following @TrackingIke, you already know all of this. They’ve been doing a fantastic job keeping everyone updated Twitter and with their other “regular” duties – blogging, contributing to print stories, shooting pictures and great video.
I’ve been spending most of my time retweeting interesting posts, posting links for them (our own and links to other resources) and responding to readers. As I said, I’m worn out. Who knew Twittering could be so tiring?
In many ways, it’s a scary and uncertain time in journalism. But when you have a group of journalists like this and an organization that’s willing to take some chances (did you see our Twitter link right at the top of statesman.com?), I feel pretty good. And when I get comments like this …
… it’s hard to not feel good.
I hope everyone in the storm’s way is safe. And I hope that our hard work helped some stay that way.