Inside the Online Newsroom in DC

Ever wondered how the Online Newsrooms work? You know… those web pages that offer up-to-date information about and personal accounts from each hurricane?

The thought did not cross my mind until a few days ago. I began volunteering to help the social media response to Hurricane Ike, and after a crash course, began to really appreciate the amount of information that is sorted through the Public Affairs department here at National Headquarters.

Local chapters and national headquarters have the opportunity to submit press release with updated, relevant information to the department, which reviews them, formats them, tags them and posts them to the relevant WordPress account(s). By contrast, there are professional and volunteer photographers located throughout disaster areas that have tasked themselves with documenting Red Cross response, as well as the more interesting stories they can find (check out this recent post about baby Katrina!). These photos are screened, uploaded to Flickr, captioned and tagged before they are even added to the WordPress account. Audio and video are submitted almost entirely by volunteers either through Utterz or YouTube and go through the same process.

The volume of information coming in each day is determined by the stage of the disaster and the specific hurricane but public affairs is usually working long after each disaster to report as the operation winds down. It can take two people to stay on top of all of the information coming in.

And the daily schedule? The day starts off with a 9:30 meeting in the Red Cross “Ready Room,” which is located in the basement of the building and is surrounded by high definition televisions showing different news feeds. Each office within the Communications Department offers their assessment and updates for the day and other staffers decide if they can help and how they should change their day’s priorities. Later in the day, there is a 4:00 meeting in the Disaster Operations Center, in which all departments – fund raising, disaster operations, etc. – report on their progress for the day and ask for help if needed.

Have any questions about the Disaster Operations Center here in DC? Want to send your information to the Online Newsroom? Let me know!

Mat Morgan, California

Be the first to like this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <pre> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>