Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No Roof? No Equipment? Galveston Daily News Doesn't Miss a Beat With Ike

The roof of the Galveston Daily News had blow away. The staff's only contact with the outside world had been reduced to a single cell phone. But the newspaper continued to publish, and as a matter of fact, did not miss one edition.

Harvey Rice of the Houston Chronicle tells the story:

The Daily News printed its Saturday edition Friday in advance of the storm, but the mandatory evacuation made distribution difficult, editor Heber Taylor said.

Taylor was blogging as the eye of the storm passed over Galveston Island and the natural gas that powered the generator was cut off. The power went out as Taylor put the period to his last sentence: "We are about to lose contact."

The newspaper plunged into darkness, and the wind tore off the roof soon afterward, allowing in rain that soaked the interior. The storm surge lapped at the newspaper's doorstep.

"We have no newsroom to go to," reporter Rhiannon Meyers said.

The next morning, Taylor made arrangements with the Herald Zeitung in New Braunfels to do the layout and the Victoria Advocate to do the printing.

"We haven't missed an edition yet," Taylor said.

Meyers and reporters Leigh Jones and Sara Foley dictated their stories, using up their cell phone batteries in the process.

"The sole equipment we have is my cell phone," Taylor said.

Photographer Jennifer Reynolds had to borrow equipment from photographers from another newspaper to transmit her photos to New Braunfels.

The Sunday edition was trucked in from Victoria late in the day after uncertainty about whether officials would allow an exception to the city's closure of the island.

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