University of Alabama’s Crimson White Providing Comprehensive Coverage of Tornado’s Aftermath


Update: Portion of a Friday morning message to college media advisers from Paul Wright in the UA Office of Student Media… “The Crimson White staff continues to do a great job of reporting from a house in Northport (across the river from Tuscaloosa). At last count, 12 of the CW staff were working to get information out from the only place where they could find power. There have only been two confirmed student deaths, but everyone believes there will be more. I have not heard of any deaths or serious injuries among the Student Media student staffers. Some have been displaced from damaged homes and apartments.”

Kudos to The Crimson Whitethe University of Alabama’s daily student newspaper, for its comprehensive, real-time coverage of the tornado that tore through UA’s hometown Tuscaloosa two days ago and the death, destruction, and emotional devastation being grappled with in its aftermath.

In the storm’s wake, the paper’s journalistic prowess has been on full display. Staffers have been delivering frequent related stories, photo series, and video reports– and a slew of tweets.  On its online masthead, beneath its name, a three-word phrase now sums up the CW’s mission: “Providing Disaster Updates.”  It has also switched two of its main section headers to “Tornado Coverage” and “Tornado Latest.”

Among the updates online and in print, the paper has reported on victims’ and eyewitnesses’ accounts of the storm; Tuscaloosa buildings and businesses that have been either damaged or destroyed; the plight of displaced UA students taking umbrage in the campus recreation center; and President Obama’s visit to the area to tour the destruction.

Separately, the most compelling visuals the paper has captured and constructed: a photo series meshing shots of well-known Tuscaloosa spots before and after the tornado hit.

CW has also been interactive, requesting storm photos from readers and residents on its homepage.  Staffers have also employed Twitter to help others check the whereabouts of UA students and staff who have not yet been located or heard from (sample tweet below).

Amid the uncertainty, the paper posted what news reports indicate was the first confirmed list of UA students killed by the storm.  Yet, earlier this afternoon, the online story was “temporarily removed.”  An editor’s note in its place indicates the paper and university are still carrying out the sad task of determining the exact number.

Roughly 60 miles away, The Kaleidoscope at the University of Alabama Birmingham has also updated its homepage with related information and a photo series.

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