|4/16/2013 4:28:00 PM|
Despite power loss Citizen Online was 'update central'
Thursday afternoon, as a handful of us worked in the darkened Citizen office, a local take on an old Oldsmobile ad came to mind: "We aren't your father's Cottonwood County Citizen."
At the time, we were huddled around a battery-powered laptop computer connected to the Internet with a cellphone's hotspot. We were under the skylight in the Citizen office which, like everywhere else in town, had no electrical power.
Dave Fjeld, Joel Alvstad and I tracked the latest updates on news from South Central Electric, city power and countless events, such as plans for the local musical, The Sound of Music. Joel also fed news nuggets to Twitter followers.
There are times I can relate to E.C. Huntington, Windom's first newspaper editor in 1871. This wasn't one of them. Something tells me if Huntington were transported in time to Thursday's Citizen office scene, he would have been as stunned as Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future.
Heck, I've lived through the industry's leap from typewriters to the digital age of today, yet there are times I wonder, "Is this is a dream?"
Windom was without power during the storm. Nonetheless, we were determined to pour news into our website. We knew some readers had power and others could access Citizen Online via smartphones. Here is a sample of stories that appeared at Citizen Online Thursday:
"Second blast of winter brings snow, blackouts, more downed branches." This story appeared on Citizen Online Breaking News (www.windomnews.com) at 8:51 a.m., on
Thursday. The story gave readers a refresher on the impact of Tuesday night's rain, the coating of ice, followed by seven inches of snow Wednesday night. It also offered the first update on power outages.
"Updated weather-related announcements," starting at 8:53 a.m. Citizen Online received countless reports on how the storm impacted key events and businesses. Among them: Toro's closure, KDOM was off the air, Riverfest Bingo cancelled, city tree branch pickup announced, county offices closed, Sound of Music postponed, etc . . .
"Federated sends out power line repair crews," 10:13 a.m. This update reported that 2,000 customers were without power in Jackson County.
"Photo Gallery of Winter Storm Walda," 12:39 p.m. In addition to updating news, Citizen reporters hustled to get pictures of the storm. Readers submitted photos as well.
"Weather update as of 1 p.m., Thursday." This piece offered details on the city council's noon emergency meeting. A state of emergency had been declared Electric Superintendent Marv Grunig updated the power status and told the council that if city generators went into service, residents would get power in 15-minute doses.
These are just a few of the 20-plus stories that appeared at Citizen Online during the storm. As disasters and storms hit, our readers expect this type of coverage. To the best of our ability, we will continue to provide it - power or no power.