5 Questions with Miami Herald: Reporting on Irma When You’re in the Path of the Storm

Sometimes in the process of news gathering or carrying out coverage, a defining moment happens to a news agency or blog. Welcome to our new Beyond Bylines series: Five questions about the big stories you’re covering.

Five Questions Miami Herald

The world barely had time to process the impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas before Hurricane Irma carved her destructive path in the Atlantic, heading toward Florida.

We immediately thought of our Florida colleagues. Like millions in the sunshine state, we knew many who were forced to evacuate.

And while the wind and rain ravaged the state, members of the media stayed put to cover the full story to get the most up-to-date information to its readers.

The Miami Herald hunkered down, provided unique arrangements for its employees, and got to work.

We reached out to Miami Herald Managing Editor Rick Hirsch for insight.

Here’s what he had to say.  

What kind of prep did you do before the storm to ready your newsroom for coverage?

At the Miami Herald, we’re experienced covering hurricanes. We’re threatened every year even if we aren’t directly impacted. We have an editor who leads our coverage, and a lead reporter who is knowledgeable. And as storms approach, we put together plans for around-the-clock staffing and a variety of contingencies.

How did you stay in touch with your team during and following the storm?

We position people around our community — and around the state and Caribbean — in anticipation of where the storm will go.

We did not lose power or internet service during the storm. Our building is on the same power grid as the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Center and the U.S. Southern Command. We have gas powered generators that can run our building — including A/C — for 10-12 days if we lose power. And we have multiple internet providers to our building. That is not a guarantee of connectivity, but it’s as close as we can get. We also have several satellite phones for deployment in the field in the event cellular service fails, which is inevitable.

Did you think Irma would be as devastating as it was?

For us, Irma was damaging, but less devastating than we feared. Twenty-four hours out, we thought we might get a direct hit in Miami, not a glancing blow. Even in the Florida Keys, which had major impact, there was a point where we feared Irma would be even worse.

Have you ever opened up the newsroom like this – to serve as a shelter for staff and their families? Was it mandatory for them to continue working? 

In our old building, the company allowed some employees who had no where else to go to take shelter. We did the same in our new building, which in some ways is even more storm-hardened that our previous headquarters. We expected all newsroom employees to work the storm. Many took shelters in their homes — outside of evacuation zones — and began reporting on their neighborhoods as soon as it was safe to go outside.

What lessons did you learn from this storm, in terms of future hurricane coverage and how you’ll manage events like this?

We think we planned well, and we were pleased with our coverage. We could have more effectively deployed our satellite phones (we had a reporter and photographer in Key West with only one phone; two would have been better). We tried to focus our reporting on the questions people in South Florida had about the storm (how can I tell if I am in an evacuation zone, where can I take my pet, etc), and we saw a great deal of success in doing it. We’d like to build on that.

Thankfully, Hurricane Irma spared Miami, but many Caribbean islands and most recently Puerto Rico hit by Hurricane Maria weren’t as lucky.  Covering natural disasters and getting information to victims poses many challenges to the media.

Does your newsroom or blog have a great story to tell? Email us at media.relations@cision.com and tell us why we should ask you five questions next.  


PR Newswire’s Audience Relations team is a small team of former journalists. Our backgrounds cover print, consumer magazine, broadcast, and online media.

You may also like...

58 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    As a roofing company in the UK, we can only be glad events like this are mostly unknown here, although 1 in 100 year events are sadly becoming more common.

  2. Tyrone Munoz says:

    I very delighted to find this internet site on bing, just what I was searching for as well saved to fav

  3. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites

  4. Alexis Park says:

    very informative articles or reviews at this time.

  5. Aiyana Petty says:

    I very delighted to find this internet site on bing, just what I was searching for as well saved to fav

  6. For the reason that the admin of this site is working, no uncertainty very quickly it will be renowned, due to its quality contents.

  7. I just like the helpful information you provide in your articles

  8. Hi there to all, for the reason that I am genuinely keen of reading this website’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It carries pleasant stuff.

  9. I appreciate your posting. I’ve read about a lot of related subjects! Contrary to other articles, yours left me with a really distinct impression. I hope you’ll keep writing insightful posts like this one and others for us to everyone to read!

  10. Hi there to all, for the reason that I am genuinely keen of reading this website’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It carries pleasant stuff.

  11. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites

  12. I really like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

  13. jason statham says:

    The content was really very interesting. I am really thankful to you for providing this unique information NewYork Jacket

  14. jhonny bravo says:

    Really enjoyed reading your blog.It is highly informative and builds great interest for the readers. USA Suit

  15. kenna james says:

    Extremely go through article. I have never seen such beautiful article. Learn many things from this I hope you continue to have high-quality articles like this to share with everyone! Hollywood Jacket

  16. saad bin sami says:

    Love to read your blog! Thanks for posting some valuable post. so much creative tips .Thanks for sharing this. Chicago Jacket

  17. Ahmad Mejia says:

    Awesome! Its genuinely remarkable post, I have got much clear idea regarding from this post

  18. Dane Lutz says:

    This was beautiful Admin. Thank you for your reflections.

  19. I very delighted to find this internet site on bing, just what I was searching for as well saved to fav

  20. Arjun Blair says:

    Hi there to all, for the reason that I am genuinely keen of reading this website’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It carries pleasant stuff.

  21. George Lynn says:

    I just like the helpful information you provide in your articles

  22. Great information shared.. really enjoyed reading this post thank you author for sharing this post .. appreciated

  23. Myles Barr says:

    Great information shared.. really enjoyed reading this post thank you author for sharing this post .. appreciated

  24. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  25. Chaim Weaver says:

    This was beautiful Admin. Thank you for your reflections.

  26. Awesome! Its genuinely remarkable post, I have got much clear idea regarding from this post

  27. Kasen Frye says:

    naturally like your web site however you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth on the other hand I will surely come again again.

  28. Denise Diaz says:

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites

  29. Alec Mayo says:

    I’m often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your web site and maintain checking for brand spanking new information.

  30. This was beautiful Admin. Thank you for your reflections.

  31. very informative articles or reviews at this time.

  32. Yahir Ali says:

    There is definately a lot to find out about this subject. I like all the points you made

  33. I appreciate you sharing this blog post. Thanks Again. Cool.

  34. naturally like your web site however you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth on the other hand I will surely come again again.

  35. Ahmad Mejia says:

    Very well presented. Every quote was awesome and thanks for sharing the content. Keep sharing and keep motivating others.

  36. For the reason that the admin of this site is working, no uncertainty very quickly it will be renowned, due to its quality contents.

  37. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  38. Felix French says:

    I like the efforts you have put in this, regards for all the great content.

  39. I very delighted to find this internet site on bing, just what I was searching for as well saved to fav

  40. I very delighted to find this internet site on bing, just what I was searching for as well saved to fav

  41. Aliyah Cline says:

    You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I have read a single thing like that before. So great to find someone with some original thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

  42. Abby Conner says:

    I very delighted to find this internet site on bing, just what I was searching for as well saved to fav

  43. There is definately a lot to find out about this subject. I like all the points you made

  44. For the reason that the admin of this site is working, no uncertainty very quickly it will be renowned, due to its quality contents.

  45. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  46. Malaki Ho says:

    Very well presented. Every quote was awesome and thanks for sharing the content. Keep sharing and keep motivating others.

  47. I like the efforts you have put in this, regards for all the great content.

  48. dordle game says:

    That is a very interesting and practical tidbit of knowledge. I cannot express how grateful I am that you just provided us with this valuable information. Please keep us updated like this. I am grateful that you shared.

  49. RouserNews says:

    This is the amazing post.

  50. SocialMagz says:

    This is the nice post.

  51. CraneFest says:

    Love to read your blog and nice post.

  52. TechnoWhy says:

    Very Informative your blog.

  53. I am interested to read this post.

  54. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites

  55. Nikhil Kerr says:

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  56. Great information shared.. really enjoyed reading this post thank you author for sharing this post .. appreciated

  57. I appreciate you sharing this blog post. Thanks Again. Cool.

  58. Leyla Doyle says:

    It’s such a handy article. Very interesting to read this article. I want to thank you for the efforts you made to write this awesome article. mens faux leather motorcycle jacket

Leave a Reply