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 Post subject: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:54 am 
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I wonder what happens when a hurricane threatens the town in which a newspaper is published? Are its workers given the option of evacuating along with the rest of the population, or are they required to stay at their jobs and risk their lives (and perhaps those of their loved ones or loved pets) in the process?


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 11:29 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by wordygurdy:
I wonder what happens when a hurricane threatens the town in which a newspaper is published? Are its workers given the option of evacuating along with the rest of the population, or are they required to stay at their jobs and risk their lives (and perhaps those of their loved ones or loved pets) in the process?<hr></blockquote><p>When I worked on copy desks in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the 1980s, if you weren't married, you were required to show up for "hurricane duty." You were told to bring a sleeping bag, extra clothes and whatever supplies would make you bearable to be around. If you were smart, you brought food and whatever beverages you wanted. Veterans brought flashlights and cards.<p>Both papers' offices were near the water. <p>I never pulled "hurricane duty" during my eight years in Florida, arriving after one storm and leaving just before another hit. Don't know what the policies are now. Don't know whether anyone has challenged the legality of basing required attendance on marital status.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 11:52 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Wayne Countryman:
<p>When I worked on copy desks in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the 1980s, if you weren't married, you were required to show up for "hurricane duty." You were told to bring a sleeping bag, extra clothes and whatever supplies would make you bearable to be around. If you were smart, you brought food and whatever beverages you wanted. Veterans brought flashlights and cards.<p>Both papers' offices were near the water. <p>I never pulled "hurricane duty" during my eight years in Florida, arriving after one storm and leaving just before another hit. Don't know what the policies are now. Don't know whether anyone has challenged the legality of basing required attendance on marital status.<hr></blockquote><p>Very interesting, Wayne! Thanks for the post. What were staff members who stuck it out supposed to do for showers, I wonder?<p>The notion of requiring single people to stay does sound legally dicey, but one would think an employer wouldn't have implemented such a policy without consulting its lawyers.<p>[ August 13, 2004: Message edited by: wordygurdy ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:25 pm 
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Over on the ACES board, staff from both the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune say they're going to ride it out. This strikes me as the height of folly. The newspapers must have some kind of plan to publish without putting its employees in harm's way.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 2:05 pm 
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Story on newspaper plans on editorandpublisher.com, link via Romenesko:<p>http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000612185


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 2:36 pm 
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When I worked at the Bradenton Herald (mentioned in that story), I was indeed told at hiring time that I would be required to stay on board for a major hurricane, with the right to sleep in the safety of the second-floor newsroom if necessary. The Herald's building does have the advantage of being a nice fortress-like structure by Florida standards. I know a lot of my friends are there right now, and I just sent them a round of e-mails wishing them the best of luck.<p>It's easy for me to say now that I'm a thousand miles away and a year removed from working there, but it doesn't seem so unreasonable to me to ask employees to stay on if the building is secure and the right measures are taken. It's a chance to take pride in your job and I was always willing to face it each hurricane season, even though nothing of this scale occurred while I was there.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 2:41 pm 
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The [Naples Daily News] has four teams, each with a reporter and photographer, on location to cover the storm. They are equipped with four-wheel drive vehicles and satellite phones. Another reporter is traveling with the Isle of Capri fire department, just off the coast. <p>"I am always concerned for their safety," [Editor Philip] Lewis says. "They have been told personal safety is their first responsibility." <p>Or at least second only to beating everybody else to the story.<p>Sudden thought: Do those folks on hazardous duty get hazardous-duty pay?


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 2:41 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Matthew Grieco:
When I worked at the Bradenton Herald (mentioned in that story), I was indeed told at hiring time that I would be required to stay on board for a major hurricane, with the right to sleep in the safety of the second-floor newsroom if necessary. The Herald's building does have the advantage of being a nice fortress-like structure by Florida standards. I know a lot of my friends are there right now, and I just sent them a round of e-mails wishing them the best of luck.<p>It's easy for me to say now that I'm a thousand miles away and a year removed from working there, but it doesn't seem so unreasonable to me to ask employees to stay on if the building is secure and the right measures are taken. It's a chance to take pride in your job and I was always willing to face it each hurricane season, even though nothing of this scale occurred while I was there.<hr></blockquote><p>I don't know, Matt. I sure wouldn't want to stick around if I knew a major hurricane was headed my way. Maybe people who have lived in Florida for years and are veterans of past hurricanes have become inured to the risk of staying, but a newbie like me would want to be in the car headed as far away from the predicted landfall site as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 2:53 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by wordygurdy:

What were staff members who stuck it out supposed to do for showers, I wonder?<p>The notion of requiring single people to stay does sound legally dicey, but one would think an employer wouldn't have implemented such a policy without consulting its lawyers.
<hr></blockquote><p>I guess the pressrooms probably had showers -- not that that would be a major concern of either managers who'd fled to higher ground or the young staffers trapped in the building, playing cards and drinking while the power was out.<p>[The Fort Lauderdale paper had mighty generators for when the power went out, as it often did down there. Unfortunately, the generators were in the basement of that no longer existent building, which would flood during storms. So, the generators' power lasted but a second or two.]<p>Legal issues didn't count for much in South Florida in the 1980s. The state tourism slogan was "The rules are different here," which in effect meant there were no rules. Think of gangs of cocaine cowboys shooting up malls and immigrants washing up on the beaches, often dead. <p>Young'uns on the copy desk in West Palm Beach who got along with at least one of their bosses would find themselves dragooned into illegal work schedules. <p>In Fort Lauderdale, the paper's attorney was fired after appearing too often in crime stories on the wrong side of the law. My first week there I yelled futilely for someone to call the lawyer about a story I'd picked up 15 minutes to deadline. The story turned out to be accurate, and an elected official lost his job and his freedom over it.<p>Unions in any industry are rare in Florida. Instead of fighting, you picked up and moved to the competition.<p>Everyday life for most unmarried copy editors in those days deserved Category 5 warnings, so (I'm told) hurricane duty didn't seem all that bad if the booze and ice and munchies didn't run out.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 2:59 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by wordygurdy:
<p>I don't know, Matt. I sure wouldn't want to stick around if I knew a major hurricane was headed my way. Maybe people who have lived in Florida for years and are veterans of past hurricanes have become inured to the risk of staying, but a newbie like me would want to be in the car headed as far away from the predicted landfall site as possible.<hr></blockquote><p>I'm not saying I'd want to be there. I'm saying that I'd be there.<p>As I said, I was told of this at the time I was hired. I would have been less accepting if it were sprung on me later. But it's Florida, and hurricanes are the price of living in "paradise." The idea of not publishing an edition after the biggest event in the history of the county would seem so wrong, I never questioned the policy.<p>Then again, maybe I was (and still am) young and idealistic about sacrifices for the profession.<p>But I will stop holding forth on this now, out of respect for those who are actually still there and facing this beast, as I am not.<p>[ August 13, 2004: Message edited by: Matthew Grieco ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 3:05 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Wayne Countryman:
<p>I guess the pressrooms probably had showers -- not that that would be a major concern of either managers who'd fled to higher ground or the young staffers trapped in the building, playing cards and drinking while the power was out.<p>[The Fort Lauderdale paper had mighty generators for when the power went out, as it often did down there. Unfortunately, the generators were in the basement of that no longer existent building, which would flood during storms. So, the generators' power lasted but a second or two.]<p>Legal issues didn't count for much in South Florida in the 1980s. The state tourism slogan was "The rules are different here," which in effect meant there were no rules. Think of gangs of cocaine cowboys shooting up malls and immigrants washing up on the beaches, often dead. <p>Young'uns on the copy desk in West Palm Beach who got along with at least one of their bosses would find themselves dragooned into illegal work schedules. <p>In Fort Lauderdale, the paper's attorney was fired after appearing too often in crime stories on the wrong side of the law. My first week there I yelled futilely for someone to call the lawyer about a story I'd picked up 15 minutes to deadline. The story turned out to be accurate, and an elected official lost his job and his freedom over it.<p>Unions in any industry are rare in Florida. Instead of fighting, you picked up and moved to the competition.<p>Everyday life for most unmarried copy editors in those days deserved Category 5 warnings, so (I'm told) hurricane duty didn't seem all that bad if the booze and ice and munchies didn't run out.<hr></blockquote><p>Wayne, again, thanks for the amusing if baroque description of life in Florida lo those many years ago. I'm sure it's amusing only because I didn't have to live it--you probably found it less humorous at the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 3:24 pm 
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Hurricanes don't seem all that bad to me, and I've lived in eastern North Carolina for over 10 years. I'd work through one, provided the newsroom was running on a generator. It gets pretty boring with no electricity, so at least I'd have something to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 3:36 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Cindy:
It gets pretty boring with no electricity, so at least I'd have something to do.<hr></blockquote><p>I've never been in a hurricane, though I was in a supermarket parking lot when a so-called "microburst" struck it, ripping the roof off of a nearby building, blowing shopping carts through the air and knocking down the light poles.<p>Anyway, while there may not have been electricity, it was hardly boring.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 3:39 pm 
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This is how I would actually define foolhardiness:<p>Diana Alexander hunkered in the bathroom of her Punta Gorda home with two sons, including 16-year-old Dagan, who had his wet suit on and planned to surf the dangerous waves. <p>"It's definitely a conflict between us, but it's his passion," Diana Alexander said. <p>Dagan said he was equipped with windshear goggles and a small life vest.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 4:23 pm 
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I've never had to worry about hurricanes, but in the past few years, blizzards have been a factor for us. I remember one in the mid-90s - predictions warned us to expect 2 feet of snow, and our weeklies were on deadline the day after the storm. The previous day, I took my kids to my parents house and then went to work carrying a small suitcase with a change of clothes, toothbrush, comb and other necessities. I stayed through the night (drank lots of coffee) and the next morning I listened to the horror stories of those who drove in to work. Most came late, but everyone made it and the papers got out. (The publisher drove around picking up a few staff members whose cars weren't up to the challenge.)<p>This past winter, we had several blizzards on deadline day. Electronics made a world of difference. Many of the reporters e-mailed their copy to the office, we paginated the pages (even though we don't yet have all the software to do it right), and sent them to the printing plant electronically. Though we were late to the plant with several of them, all the papers reached the homes on time.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 4:30 pm 
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As I am interning at the Bradenton Herald, I can tell you exactly what happened, along with our policy. I lived on Anna Maria Island, about 9 miles east of the paper's building. On Thursday, I was told by police that if I wasn't off the island by midnight, I wasn't getting off. So, I packed up my things and headed into the paper -- really, one of the best shelters around, except for the problem of being rather close to the Manatee River, which feeds into the Gulf. The building is concrete and brick, and everyone works on the second floor. The only real problem is that of having your car wash away -- that is, if the flooding hit here.<p>After putting the paper to bed last night, I was told we would come in as late as the weather would allow, seeing as more than 40-mph winds are deemed undriveable. When the hurricane was predicted to hit last night, we were pretty much Ground Zero. I bunked up with a co-worker at his apartment on high ground, and we headed in today at 10:30 a.m., well ahead of our normal 3:30 p.m. shift start time. Since I am getting ready to leave my internship (my last day is Sunday), I had all my things in my car. I brought in a blanket, my pillows, some electronics I really didn't want getting wet, and the standard flashlight and deck of cards. Like I said before, had Charley roared right through town and produced the 10-foot-plus storm surge as expected, I still would feel safer here than in the designated shelters.<p>As far as paper production, I was one of the first copy editors to arrive. My boss got in around 11:30, and informed us of the situation: Worst-case scenario, we would publish a 12-page edition to be printed in either Orlando or Miami and ferried back to have something on reader's doorsteps (if the doorsteps were indeed still there). At about 1 p.m., we put together the 12-page emergency edition, with a 4 p.m. deadline, as that was when the brunt of Charley was to come through. We were then told to work until no longer possible, and then hunker down and resign ourselves to the 12-page edition if we lost power. Most of the people in the area were evacuated, so we all planned to bunk up together tonight.<p>Fortunately, Charley decided to hang a hard right, and we saw nothing but gray skies, light drizzle and maybe 30 mph winds. However, the eye still has time to pass us, and I've heard that winds within a 30-mile radius of the eye are still at plus-100 mph. As of this writing, we're waiting to start the real edition of the paper, having completed a lot of it already for the 12-page edition we already finished. I think, had the storm hit as predicted, we would have been a little more taxed, but things have gone really smoothly (knock on wood).<p>At St. Pete, reporters and copy editors are organized into color-coded teams, and certain colors come into the newsroom at certain times. As far as here, we are fully expected to work until power or hurricane winds force us to hunker down and stop. I personally agree with this rule, but only because of the building -- it was specifically built for a newspaper, and is one of the sturdiest facilities in the area. Our only major concern was flooding and our cars.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 4:42 pm 
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I know that was a really long post, but I forgot to mention three things:<p>a) There are showers and a gym in our press room;<p>b) We are across the street from the hospital, and so on an emergency power grid, meaning we would be the last area to lose power;<p>c) Reporters were either stationed at shelters with four-wheel-drive vehicles and two-way radios, or rode along with one emergency personnel vehicle, provided they could still operate.<p>Personally, I loved the past two days. Being a city boy from St. Louis, the last hurricane I even came close to was Andrew while on vacation. I felt safe the whole time, and was rather excited about big news and a bustling newsroom, with everyone coming in to pitch in. Those of us who were to have these days off were recommended to come in, though it wasn't mandatory for copy editors. Reporters were on a schedule, which was pretty much set in stone. I just found the whole thing rather exciting.<p>Even if I had had today off, I still would have come in. No one was pulling my arm to be here, but when you think about it, what else did most of us have to do? I'd rather get some work done and be occupied in a fortress of a building than sit around wondering whether I was going to get hit in a shelter somewhere -- especially since the damage turned out to be much less than expected.<p>One final thing: Anyone who came in early was awarded overtime, provided their early shift put them over 40 hours for that week. Also, our publisher put out a rather generous e-mail saying family members and pets were welcome in the building for as long as need be.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 5:30 pm 
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Thanks for the narrative, Niko. That was very insightful. <p>As an owner of two parrots who could probably not easily be moved to a shelter, I have to say it was especially nice to hear your boss's edict on pets being welcome for as long as necessary.<p>[ August 13, 2004: Message edited by: wordygurdy ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 9:18 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Niko Dugan:
I lived on Anna Maria Island, about 9 miles east of the paper's building.<hr></blockquote><p>West.<p>[ August 13, 2004: Message edited by: Matthew Grieco ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 9:47 pm 
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You got me, Grieco. That's what four hours of sleep and 11 more looking for other people's errors can do.<p>Incidentally, the hurricane narrowly missed us, and passed through to Orlando -- which is precisely where all the local law enforcement, meteorologists, and newscasters were telling everyone to go before it hit. D'oh!


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 9:52 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Niko Dugan:
You got me, Grieco. That's what four hours of sleep and 11 more looking for other people's errors can do.<p>Incidentally, the hurricane narrowly missed us, and passed through to Orlando -- which is precisely where all the local law enforcement, meteorologists, and newscasters were telling everyone to go before it hit. D'oh!<hr></blockquote><p>Any serious damage in Manatee at all? I was curious whether the house I lived in until this time last year would withstand a direct hit.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:35 pm 
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Hey Matt! Really nothing that serious happened here. Most of the rain was only mist, our gusts of wind barely strong and even power outages were kept at a minimum. All the evacuees were given an all clear just hours after the storm passed. I pretty sure not even a tree was toppled.
That doesn't mean we weren't seriously freaked at times ... but the atrium didn't shatter and our cars didn't have to learn to float so the only consequence is watching next year's raises go to feed the newsroom.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:59 pm 
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and a ps to Niko's message.<p>Many people were evacuated and had nowhere else to go BUT the Herald. And it is much safer to arrive early and be prepared to stay than to try to get to the office at some point during the storm. <p>Question: Isn't the on-call, work-it-while-you-got-it policy the same for papers during blizzards? earthquakes? I believe someone compared us to doctors today -- when someone needs emergency surgery, you don't refuse to go because it is problematic. It's our job to get a paper out - and everyone was on-call, marriage certificates and all. (parents, too)


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 11:44 pm 
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I suppose it's better to be holed up in a big sturdy building rather than trying to drive away or staying in your hut.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 1:11 am 
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All those posts and not a word about Poynter
being in the path of a hurricane. Can't wait for
Al's Morning Meeting to resume.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 1:33 pm 
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Come to think of it, did I once read somewhere that emergency shelters don't accept pets? Could that be true? What do people with pets do in situations in which they have to go to shelters? Abandon the animals? I can't even contemplate that.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 1:36 pm 
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Charley's here now, kinda. We're either not going to get the worst of it, or it has yet to come. We'll see.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 3:45 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by KELjustKEL:
believe someone compared us to doctors today -- when someone needs emergency surgery, you don't refuse to go because it is problematic. It's our job to get a paper out - and everyone was on-call, marriage certificates and all. (parents, too)<hr></blockquote>Those who don't feel this way are in the wrong business, IMHO.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 4:36 pm 
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In response to your question, wordygurdy, I think there were a select few shelters that accepted pets -- but when you think about it, the logistics are insane. There's the potential for someone to get bitten, someone's dog to get in a fight with someone else's, etc.<p>Incidentally, not being able to leave their pets was the main reason some people didn't evacutate.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:27 pm 
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At the Herald-Tribune here in Sarasota, anyone who was essential to the hurricane coverage (which was practically everyone) had to be here. Anyone who wasn't but was ordinarily scheduled to work Friday had the option of taking the day off, but it had to be a vacation day.<p>The copy desk had a brief meeting the night before to decide how many of us had to be here. Naturally, the people scheduled to work Friday (myself included) were obligated to show up, but the chief wanted as many people as possible to come in. <p>We worked in the main building, but if the hurricane got to be too much, the paper evacuate the building and take a skeleton crew to the printing plant; everyone else could go home (or wherever). As it turned out, we never had to evacuate the building.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 9:03 pm 
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Here's a thought.
Maybe a hurricane is just a hurricane.
It's a fairly simple story.
How much of what's in "hurricane editions" today will be genuinely newsworthy and interesting?<p>I'm not saying anything or making a judgment. It's just a thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:28 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
Over on the ACES board, staff from both the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune say they're going to ride it out. This strikes me as the height of folly. The newspapers must have some kind of plan to publish without putting its employees in harm's way.<hr></blockquote>Especially any paper in a large group. I've worked on editions where the majority of staff had had to work off-site for the day. The unforeseeable is foreseeable. There's a Lou Grant episode about such a day.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:45 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Niko Dugan:
In response to your question, wordygurdy, I think there were a select few shelters that accepted pets -- but when you think about it, the logistics are insane. <hr></blockquote><p>Shouldn't people have carriers for their pets? After all, it's the only safe way to transport a pet to the vet. If it's in its carrier, it shouldn't be any danger to people at a shelter, assuming that they keep them away from the pet-allergic.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 11:24 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2003 1:01 am
Posts: 741
Location: The Empire State
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Niko Dugan:
In response to your question, wordygurdy, I think there were a select few shelters that accepted pets -- but when you think about it, the logistics are insane. There's the potential for someone to get bitten, someone's dog to get in a fight with someone else's, etc.<p>Incidentally, not being able to leave their pets was the main reason some people didn't evacutate.<hr></blockquote><p>Thanks, Niko. I hope I'm never in a position to have to make such a decision, but if I am, I will try to look for a shelter that accepts pets.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 22
Location: Bradenton, Fla.
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
Here's a thought.
Maybe a hurricane is just a hurricane.
It's a fairly simple story.
How much of what's in "hurricane editions" today will be genuinely newsworthy and interesting?
<hr></blockquote><p>Yes, true - to a point. Here, I fail to see the logic in covering the disaster with full front-page hurricane-only sections for two days after the hit, especially in an area where we saw nothing more than a few showers and some aftermath thunderstorms. We have no readers in the hardest-hit areas. Our coverage, at this point, is not only redundant but is coming at the expense of local coverage. When we found out some nearby rural communities had no power (when the residents called to complain that we weren't covering them), the response was, "Well, we didn't know that." Why was nobody sent to all parts of OUR coverage area, instead of expending our resources elsewhere?<p>However, when the second-worst natural disaster in recent U.S. history strikes towns 50 miles to your southeast and about 70 to your south, decimating communities, leaving thousands homeless and hundreds and thousands with no power or water for possibly weeks, I think that's worth covering for at least a day. Aside from the arguably obvious newsworthiness in seeing towns razed to the ground, for some people in our area, we're the only way they'll get any information right now. In those nearby rural communities with no power, where else will they get news on their outages and schools? Certainly not from the television. <p>I think it's also serving as a "lessons learned" type exercise. In Punta Gorda, one of the hardest-hit areas, people did not expect it to be this bad, and they certainly didn't expect it in inland Polk County, where coastal residents went to seek shelter. Many didn't evacuate. I think we want to show these photographs and tell these stories in order to say, "Look. This could have been you." In fact, our editorial said as much almost verbatim.<p>Then there are impact stories. They're airlifting people into unaffected hospitals. How does that affect the staff or people visiting for non-storm-related injuries? After Hurricane Andrew, stricter building codes created studier buildings. Our area is starting to build up. Maybe this will help us. People wonder, will insurance premiums rise? And what does this mean for upcoming election primaries? Electricity runs polling places. Could this precipitate another Florida election debacle?<p>Is it worth covering? Yes. Is it worth covering as much as we have? Probably not.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 5:09 pm 
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Location: Seattle
We had one big brush-with-hurricane while I was at the Columbia, SC, newspaper. The governor evacuated all people from the coast when Floyd was threatening, so the Myrtle Beach paper (a KR sister) sent their designers inland to our office. If things got bad they'd publish from Columbia and ship papers to MB.


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 Post subject: Re: Workers at Tampa-area newspapers
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 5:54 pm 
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Posts: 54
Location: Lincoln City, Oregon
when shit's happening, the only place i ever wanted to be was on the job. unless they're evacuating the cops & firefighters, too, i can't imagine running off.<p>i had to postpone a wedding to be available for duty during Y2K. my only regret is that there wasn't a pending global disaster the following june as well.


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