Wednesday was to be a productive morning at the office for me.
The day was set to begin at 7:30 a.m. with our first Coffee and a Newspaper for community members in the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s conference room. Magazine editor Eugene Buchanan and I were then scheduled to spend the rest of the morning reviewing plans for the upcoming edition of At Home in Steamboat Springs magazine.
Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Shalee Cunningham’s phone call at 6:40 a.m. changed that. By a couple of minutes after 7 a.m., the Pilot & Today’s website, Twitter account and Facebook page had been updated to share the news of the school district’s first weather-related closure in more than two decades.
I didn’t make Coffee and a Newspaper, and Eugene and I postponed our meeting until later in the day.
I like days like Wednesday. Sure, brutally cold weather and a school closure in Routt County may not hold the same significance as the unrest in Egypt, but it was important news in our community. We tried to respond accordingly.
Reporters Tom Ross, Jack Weinstein and Matt Stensland dropped their previously planned assignments for the day to tackle the weather stories that we updated online and presented in Thursday’s paper. Photographer John F. Russell hit the cold streets in search of photos that told the story. City Editor Blythe Terrell handled much of the social media and website updates. News Editor Nicole Miller designed the front page of Thursday’s paper to reflect the uniqueness of the extreme weather and the school closure.
It was a hectic day in the newsroom, but it was worthwhile. And, to be honest, it was fun to have a different kind of news event take over for a day.
Readers seemed to enjoy it, as well. SteamboatToday.com had 14,446 user sessions Wednesday, up from the average of 9,445 user sessions a day throughout the past month. Those users had 44,392 pageviews, a 54 percent increase from our daily average of 28,835 pageviews. Four of the top 10 pages viewed were related to weather.
It all added up to being our second best day of Web traffic in the past six months, bested only by Nov. 3 — the day after the election.
What did you like about our coverage Wednesday and Thursday? What could we have done better? Drop me a line and help us plan for the next big news event to hit Routt County.
Brent Boyer can be reached at 970-871-4221 or bboyer@SteamboatToday.com