Andrea Rondeau column: Breaking news is a team effort

So breaking news coverage is a challenge to be fast and accurate.

Breaking news coverage is always a challenge.

In the past, we tried to collect as much information as possible before sharing it with the public. But now, our mandate when it comes to breaking news coverage has changed. What we do these days is put out what information we have as quickly as possible. The information that we put out is accurate, but it may not be immediately complete. Such is the job in the age of social media.

At least when you look to us, you know we haven’t just made something up, or simply speculated as if it was fact, like is common on other platforms I could name that I’m sure you’ve already had that experience with. The news business is still different in that way than just talking among friends or acquaintances.

But I digress.

So breaking news coverage is a challenge to be fast and accurate. It’s even more of a challenge when it happens on a weekend, when we’re not all in the office ready to dive right in.

Such was the case last weekend when I woke up to reports that there was massive flooding in the Cowichan Valley. I’d been up myself the night before blocking off a couple of low-lying doorways into my home, just below which water was pooling ominously as it approached midnight and the rain was still coming down. Fortunately, my precautions were overkill and not needed in the end. But others weren’t so lucky.

Right away, still in my pajamas, I threw something up on our website. As it turned out an early riser from one of our Victoria affiliates had already written up a quickie and put it up, but our website was glitching, so neither story was showing in our top spot (where it clearly belonged). Reporters Sarah Simpson and Kevin Rothbauer were also already on the case (kids get them up as the dawn breaks) so it was a matter of trying not to encroach on what each other had already done, while assessing what still needed attention. What did we do before texting, again?

Sarah became our go-to person throughout Saturday, putting up updates from the Cowichan Valley Regional District as they came in. I took over on Sunday. Meanwhile, Citizen publisher Warren Goulding was out and about on the other side of the floodwaters in Chemainus taking photos and video, which he then sent in for processing and adding to the stories.

More than any other kind of story, breaking news tends to come down to a team effort, and I’m always glad to have such an amazing team.

It’s great to have someone to share the load when the unexpected happens and have to spring into action.

Column

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Early exit for LMG

For the first time since 2013, Cowichan LMG has taken an early… Continue reading

Mary Lowther column: An experiment with early cloned tomatoes

Six of the 12 sprouts I potted up survived

Caps turn focus to BCHL playoffs, Powell River

A pair of losses on the weekend put the Cowichan Valley Capitals… Continue reading

Rain storm causes Cowichan River to change course

Hatching fish to be monitored this spring

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Shuswap boy wins hockey stick from NHL hero with rock, paper, scissors

Chase’s Payton Koch’s exchange with Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala caught on camera

Surrey will replace its RCMP force with municipal police, province confirms

City of Surrey has been authorized to set up its own city police force

UPDATE: Son, 5, dies in hospital after crash that killed dad, older son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

Endangered butterfly species to be reintroduced to Hornby Island

Hornby Island is about to play a major role in the saving… Continue reading

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Most Read