Monday, May 23, 2011

Joplin staffers lose homes but get paper out, start Facebook page for survivors, seek volunteer aid

UPDATE, June 7: The fund for Globe employees has reached $40,000, Joe Pompeo reports on The Cutline for Yahoo! News.

Some employees of the Joplin Globe who lost their homes in the deadliest U.S. Tornado in 58 years yesterday reported to work to remake and get out the Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. paper, publisher Michael Beatty said in a story by CNHI News Service.

Of the paper's 117 employees, 26 "took heavy damage to their homes or lost them completely," the story said. "It was amazing," Beatty said. "Their focus was just to get the news out for the people, in print and online, so that they would have the information they needed about where to go and what to do." To see the paper's front page, click here.

At least 20 of the paper's workers lost their homes, and employees from CNHI's headquarters in Birmingham, are heading to Joplin to help out, reports News & Tech, quoting Keith Ponder, CNHI's senior vice president and Sun Belt Division manager: "The Globe team has done exemplary work under difficult circumstances. In spite of their own losses, several of these amazing people were at The Globe contributing to producing this morning's edition and working to provide vital information to the Joplin community in this difficult time." (Read more) The Missouri Press Association has established a fund for the employees affected by the tornado; information is here, and here is the site to make a tax-deductible contribution.

UPDATE, May 24: The Globe "established a Facebook page to link tornado survivors with their family members and friends," Adam Hochberg of the Poynter Institute reports. "The page encouraged Joplin residents to post a note if they made it through the tornado safely, and it allowed other people to post inquiries about friends and family members they haven’t been able to contact." At least four similar pages have appeared, and "Some emergency management experts warn that the hastily created sites can also foster confusion, especially when so many spring up around the same disaster," Hochberg reports. His colleague Julie Moos wrote about Globe reporter Jeff Lehr's experiences with the storm, including his interview on NBC Nightly News. Ziva Branstetter of the Tulsa World has a story about the use of social media.

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