I’m often blown away by how much talent there is at the Las Vegas Sun, especially in regards to those who practice multimedia journalism.
The list of amazing (and basically “text”) journalists who have not only embraced our newspaper’s mission, but excelled at it, goes on and on. Someday soon, I definitely need to write something about how each of these folks has really made what the Sun does so interesting and special.
But the real reason I wanted to post something today was because there were a couple of really fantastic examples Thursday that show how the Sun’s newsroom works on a couple of very different daily stories.
The first story was one that ran on the front page of our print edition, along with an accompanying online photo gallery and video. It was a cool package about how the Blue Man Group (which has a standing show on the Las Vegas Strip) was holding an open casting call.
With the jobless rate so high in Nevada, this was a story that seemed interesting on several levels.
But from an “inside baseball” journalism perspective, it was interesting, as well. The story was told by Katie Euphrat, who came to our team as an intern just over a year ago. I said “told” because Katie did much more than just “write” the story.
Katie got her degree in print journalism from Northwestern University/Medill, but fell in love with video storytelling when she worked in Johannesburg, South Africa, shooting video to accompany her articles for one of that country’s first multimedia-capable newspaper websites. She went on to a broadcast internship at The Associated Press in Washington, D.C., and moved here to intern with us after graduating in 2009.
After six months as a video intern, she became a full-time video journalist with us, but she’s very eager to keep using her writing degree, too. And she has the chops to do it.
When we hire interns, these are exactly the types of journalists we look for: People who can really write, but have at least one other interesting media skill, like being an avid blogger, or knowing how to shoot and edit video, or having worked at a student radio station, or knowing how to write a little code or even developing a little in Flash.
Anyway, that’s where this Blue Man Group story comes in.
Katie wrote the lead story for the print edition of the Sun (which was edited a little differently for the online version — basically longer):
And she shot and edited the video for the story:
The multimedia storytelling that Katie did for this story was really interesting because she did it while wearing several hats.
Plus, we got an interesting behind-the-scenes photo gallery for the package from Leila Navidi.
Then we got a cool sidebar from Sun newcomer Delen Goldberg, complete with photos from Leila.
But this isn’t the only type of daily, converged journalism that the Sun practiced on Thursday.
An important local story broke …
Former two-term Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn died yesterday after falling from the roof of his home, where he was thought to be cleaning off pine needles.
Shortly after our morning news meeting on Thursday, a rumor began to float through the newsroom that Guinn had died. Several reporters and editors worked the phones for about 10 minutes before we almost simultaneously got two confirmations of his death.
Within those 10 minutes we had prepared a few sentences on the background of the former governor, which was immediately ready to post the second we received confirmation. Several reporters continued to conduct interviews and get reaction while another reporter drove to the hospital for updates from the family.
By early afternoon, about 10 reporters from across our newsroom had contributed with analysis, background and reaction from the top political leaders — past and present — in Nevada.
That was accompanied by a special page of every significant story in our archives about the former governor.
Working closely with all of our newspaper’s editors, online managing editor extraordinaire Tim Richardson skillfully kept all of the updates rolling seamlessly. (I’ve only said this about a million times, but I believe in my heart this guy is the best online ME in the country.)
The feedback we received on this online story was amazing. It started as a breaking online story, then kind of morphed into what would typically be thought of as a fairly in-depth “Day Two” story before it had even gotten dark outside.
And to complement all of that great text, our photo staff put together an amazing gallery of Guinn from our archives.
We also had a recent video of the former governor from a Sun package we had done a few years back when we invited several former governors to our offices to discuss what they would do if they were still in office.
What made all of this so remarkable was this was done before layout had even begun on the next morning’s print edition — which, by the way, had an amazingly well done follow-up story that basically epitomizes how the Las Vegas Sun handles a “daily” story in print.
Interestingly enough, in today’s print edition of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper, there was a box that included reader comments from Thursday’s online story:
Also, this morning our newspaper’s senior print editor sent this note out to our newsroom:
The Sun’s coverage of the death of Kenny Guinn displayed what we do that nobody else does better: all-hands-on-deck swarming to have the first and most thorough breaking-news coverage online, with second-day coverage in print that stood out from everyone else’s in town for its thoughtfulness and tone.
Add to that our editorial and Ralston’s column, and a marvelous photo gallery (anchored by Sam Morris’ file photo of the Guinns kissing with the McGuire Sisters singing on stage), keen copy-desk editing and great presentation in the paper…
We were one seamless news operation yesterday, and it was thrilling.
Thank you all.
Yep, yesterday completely illustrated why I love to work at the Las Vegas Sun and am so proud of this newspaper.