This past June was busy, maybe the busiest single month of my career to date. Colorado saw historic weather in the form of massive two-day hail storm, and mother nature followed that up with a series of wildfires – including the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Because the Waldo Canyon Fire was the last in that series of unfortunate disasters, my peers and I at KKTV had our coverage plans well rehearsed. We began 24/7 coverage when the first plume of smoke appeared (my photo of that moment is on the left) and kept it going through the evacuation of 32,000 people and destruction of 346 homes. Our around-the-clock television coverage ended when some of those evacuations began to end, but KKTV.com and social media coverage continues at all times.
The tragedy of the Waldo Canyon Fire brought users from around the world to our website and social media accounts. By extension, it also brought us some media recognition. Here are three sites I have found that wrote articles about my work:
Focusing mostly on our television coverage, they choose to end this article with a quote from one of my brief moments on air: “We’ve been doing shifts at least 12 hours apiece,” Tenser told viewers, “and we’ve been doing it because this is our community too.”
The founder of SocialNewsDesk, a social media aggregation for newsrooms, found several positive strategies in my work with Facebook and Twitter during the fire. They were:
- Read, Respond, Read, Respond
- Organize and Centralize
- Make it Viral
- Ask for Shares
LostRemote – Colorado TV station uses hashtag in fire coverage
The shortest of these three articles, this one points out that we highlighted the #WaldoCanyonFire hashtag underneath our live bug during our coverage. We didn’t try to create our own hashtag, but we did let everyone know which one we had joined.
But a fourth article about my work also appeared during the month of June, and it may have foreshadowed the other three. Michael Depp, and editor of NetNewsCheck, interviewed me for an article called News Race Goes Social In Colorado Springs. Here’s how he quoted me, at the top of the article:
“There’s a rush to get the first ticker on television,” said Phil Tenser, director of new media for KKTV, a Gray-owned CBS affiliate. “There’s a rush to get the first text alert, the first Web story and Facebook post and to be the fastest.”