I working the early morning shift my second week in Web. It’s interesting to start the morning and be able to watch news stories develop right before your eyes. I spent the first part of my shift posting AP stories, which was basically perfecting the art of copy-paste. Morning web also get the first sight of the morning stories.
The majority of my week was spent on the story of the missing Ohio mom in the Outer Banks. The web desk received an email stating that Dare County officials were looking for a missing person from Ashland, Ohio. They didn’t give any information on the gender, name or the circumstances surrounding the disappearance. I used Google to see if any news about the story has been posted by the news stations in Ohio. The search came up with a story that no one expected. Ohio stations were reporting that Lynn Jackenheimer was reported missing after her boyfriend, Nate Summerfield, returned back from vacation with Jackenheimer’s two kids, but not with their mother. As a collective whole the web desk knew this was a big story. This story would reach national headlines, and WAVY needed to be leading the coverage from this area.
Web desk had to fight to get this story assigned, the story was just beginning and others felt it was too soon to be a big deal. Jackenheimer had only been reported missing the day prior, everyone seemed to think the story should just simply take the back burner. We insisted that this story needed to be covered and we eventually convinced a reporter to take the story. The web desk than became the lead source of any information regarding this story. I put my internet stalking skills to good use as I found every piece of information on this story that had ever been posted on the web. I used Facebook, Google, and Twitter to see what people were saying about Lynn.
Throughout the day, the reporter working on the case relied on the web to find out all the details. We learned about the 911 call from Summerfield’s brother, the photos posted by Lynn the last day she was seen, the photos posted by Nate of his vacation, and all the details that led up to Jackenheimer’s disappearance.
I had never realized how much work web did on news stories, or how little recognition they received for that work. For days we fought to get the newsroom to acknowledge the importance of this story, the fact that it was the most viewed story on wavy.com didn’t seem to be enough. Just as we predicted, the story received national recognition when Good Morning America did a report on it. The local ABC affiliate had not only caught up to WAVY’s coverage, but because they were getting support from higher-up, they began leading the coverage locally. They were also receiving national recognition for the information they provided to Good Morning America. It wasn’t until then that everyone in the newsroom became interested in this story.
I loved that I had the chance to see this story grow. Personally, I knew everything there was to know about the case, probably more than the reporter. I had read everything that had been reported around the nation and knew which facts were accurate and which were false. My last project that I worked on while in Web was the timeline that I outlined. I went through the story to create a day-by-day outline so Jane could construct the photo- time line for the web.
I enjoy writing and I enjoy learning, those interests are what drive the web team. They are researching stories as they happen and recording the information that reporters may have found in the field.