Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Rita: A local perspective

New Orleans's Times-Picayune provided excellent coverage of Hurricane Katrina (and it continues to cover Hurricane Rita), and I thought it might be useful to have a look at some other Gulf Coast publications for good local news. Here's a preliminary list:

-- The Galveston County Daily News

-- The Beaumont Enterprise

-- The Port Arthur News

-- The Lafayette Daily Advertiser

In addition, the Lake Charles American Press is running a Rita-related blog — see here.

And, of course, there's the Houston Chronicle, which in addition to its regular news coverage is running two Rita-related blogs — one by its own journalists, one by citizen journalists.

Please let me know if there are other good sources for local news in the area. Most of my posts rely heavily on major news outlets like CNN and The New York Times, but I think that some local perspective might be in order.

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  • From storm blog by Ron Franscell of Beaumont Enterprise, at ...

    The squalls have arrived. Winds are steadily increasing, the lights flicker occasionally, rain drums an incessant bass line against the masonry skin of our building, the windows bulge with every gust, a transformer on the corner detonates in a shower of sparks ... and we're only in the tune-up. The prelude comes in a few hours, and the violent first movement a few hours after that.

    We have taken a head count and everyone is safe. Now that night has fallen, we can take stock and plan, to some degree, the next move. As stories are filed, they are edited and quickly posted at our Web site and sent to our shadow desk in Houston for the paper-newspaper that will come out tomorrow just hours after Rita makes landfall. We shifted our normal morning cycle to midday so the newspaper could contain some of the first daylight images of Rita's wrath.

    Galveston's electricity has been dead more than an hour, but we're still on here. We've adopted the rhythms of impending calamity, like a guy with exactly 12 minutes to live. We get a series of little shots to get this right, and each one presents a new challenge. We are one a short runway and there's no scrubbing the take-off.

    Tonight, a Time Magazine reporter asked me if I was afraid. I am, a little. But it's more a tool than a handicap. It's how I know I haven't lapsed into a mechanical existence. It's the pulse of my survival instinct. And it's not always a fear of the things I can't control; it is also a fear of failing at the things I can control.

    On a newsroom bulletin board -- the old-fashioned kind made of cork -- somebody posted an advisory note that ran on the New York Times news wire tonight: Editors, we commend to your attention storm coverage from New York Times News Service partner news organizations, including Hearst Newspapers and Cox News Service, but especially articles from The Houston Chronicle and The Beaumont Enterprise, two Hearst papers in the path of Hurricane Rita. Their unique perspectives lend an authenticity to storm stories that cannot be matched.

    Spirits rose. Somebody is seeing. Still, I'm not sure why we think we might deflect a 500-mile wide hurricane by throwing a scrap of paper worth 50 cents at it. Maybe it's like some many things we do in life: It just makes us feel that we did something.

    I'm not inclined to give it too much thought tonight. Maybe another time, after the pieces are picked up.
    The lights went out in Galveston an hour ago, but they're still on here, so there's a precious moment to do one more thing. Post a blog entry. Visit one of the frightened dogs somebody bivouacked in the darkroom. Answer an e-mail from a concerned friend. Call my son in Wyoming and reassure him that we'll be OK. The hard work will be sleeping.

    By Blogger Ron Franscell, at 11:00 PM  

  • You know what, Ron, you're doing a great job. It may just feel like you're doing something, and that may bolster your spirits, but know that a lot of us out here admire and respect what you guys are doing down there to tell the story.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 12:36 AM  

  • I live in Crowley, Louisiana - just northeast of where Rita came ashore. Two local blogs that give an authentic local perspectuve are: and

    And thank you for providing this excellent source of free NYT opinion pieces that the Times feels they can soak us for. NEVER PAY RETAIL forever !

    Joe Paris

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:30 PM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:32 PM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:46 PM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:48 AM  

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