It’s All About Your Team

Photo from the fire via freelance photographer Jonathan Alumbaugh (http://www.flickr.com/photos/vantagephotos/

Photo from the fire via freelance photographer Jonathan Alumbaugh (http://www.flickr.com/photos/vantagephotos/

I’ve talked about how my colleagues and I work together before, but it’s never been so evident as it was last month.

With the South Street fire in Willimantic, Louisa and I were a tag-team finding out what happeend and we followed it for a good eight months. I remember when it first happened, we had stories every day for almost two weeks.

I had most of the first bylines to start, but Louisa took over quickly and we traded stories back and forth over the next several months. It wasn’t easy and we had to stay on top of developments with the fire, as well as everything that was going on with the rest of our beats.

Last month, we had the St. Mary’s Church fire.

On the night of the first Third Thursday for Willimantic, the Chronicle had half of its news staff at the scene by default. By the time everyone found out about the fire, there was three reporters and three photographers working the fire. The stories that came the day after were beyond amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of our staff.

I had the night shift the next day, so I did a structural followup to accompany a great story by Louisa, which looked ahead for the church.

The stories were seamless. We made sure we covered our bases and provided our readers with the most up-to-date information that we had.

Our photographers really came through with some great photos. Fire photos always sell papers, but these were gripping, yet horrifying photos that we were able to use to help tell the fire’s story.

For the reporters, the trust that we have is unmistakable  For my night shift two reporters gave me almost 10 different numbers of sources to call for the fire, in case I couldn’t get a hold of the “main players.” We don’t have to question one another because we know the work that we are all capable of.

We can see it in each other and, I think, the editors can see it themselves. Our work reflects the team we have.

I am proud of this staff, but our work on this fire isn’t over.

We will all be covering the fire for a long time to come.  And that’s okay.

We have a job to do.

Jonathan

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