Now that the derecho has passed and the power is back on, we want to hear from you about how you stayed connected to news throughout the storm and the days following.
We realized that many of our readers were not getting the news the way they normally did because of power and Internet outages and many were bunking with family and friends or staying at hotels, where access to computers was more limited or non-existent. Very quickly we started using as many channels as possible to share storm and storm recovery-related news — especially mobile channels.
The night of the storm, we sent a rare text message, directing readers to our mobile website, m.roanoke.com, for updates about the power outages and storm damage. We sent another text alert on Saturday with the same message.
During the weekend, we used Twitter and Facebook around the clock to give updates on when power was expected to be restored, and even what businesses were open. Our use of Facebook that weekend might have been one of our most successful (and useful) examples of crowdsourcing: We asked our fans to report what businesses were open or closed, and that post received almost 100 comments full of helpful tips our newsroom couldn’t have produced alone.
To make it easier to find storm-related stories, we organized all of that content in one area, and those links were prominent and accessible from pages on roanoke.com and m.roanoke.com.
Later in the week, we hit the streets and captured Roanokers sounding off about the derecho in this video.
These events are hard to plan for, so we strive each time to better understand what worked and what we can do differently to keep you better informed and connected. So tell us how you stay connected and any suggestions on what we can do next time by taking the poll below.
And if you have ideas on how we can continue to harness the power of social networks for public service, please share them in the comments or in the poll.