Monday, April 16, 2012

Tremendous Job, Wichita "Eagle"

When opened my paper Saturday morning, I thought, "wow." A front page headline I've never seen before:

Because I was so confident the greater Wichita area was going to be in the thick of things Saturday evening, I thought the headline was exactly appropriate. But, because I have worked in the newspaper industry, I wondered if there was some nervousness on East Douglas Street (home of Wichita Eagle and Beacon Publishing). Turns out there was.

According to Eagle Editor and Senior VP for News Sherry Chisenhall:

"We debated internally whether to run that headline because we know forecasts can change. Once it is on paper, it is forever. But, we decided to put our faith in the experts. Now, two days after the storm, we've discussed how very different the coverage would have been if the warnings had not been as accurate and people had died."

Sherry went on the explain that because it was experts they had experience with and trusted they felt good about the headline, especially since their circulation area is beyond Wichita and Sedgwick County.

Many don't give newspapers the credit they deserve in the storm warning and education process. That is why I'm especially pleased to bring this extraordinary headline from Saturday's Wichita Eagle pertaining to the impending tornado threat to your attention.

Saturday in Kansas was a textbook example of how warnings are supposed to work. And, with an estimated $280 million in damage but no deaths, we achieved a textbook result. 

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