Outlet: Charleston Daily Mail
Journalist: Zack Harold
Tags: breaking news, social media
Read full announcement post.
Scanner chatter: flames shooting across the interstate.
— Zack Harold (@ZackHarold) December 11, 2012
His editors’ nomination explains:
Zack Harold spearheaded our social media coverage of a gas pipeline explosion on Dec. 11. The pipeline caused a monster fireball that rumbled toward Interstate 77, scorching homes, burning trees, melting cars and making the highway asphalt crumble. As the situation developed, Zack used Storify to compile social media updates from media and residents about what was happening at the scene. The Storify served as a reservoir of breaking news and reaction, and received 4,677 views.
DFMie judges explained why this was a winner:
Zack Harold’s Storify of the Sissonville explosion is a great example of how journalists can use social media to provide useful information during a breaking news event. Harold showed a great deal of insight into what people would want to know during the event — where to go for shelter, which roads were closed, reports of any injuries — and what they might want to know afterwards, like how asphalt actually melted during the gas line explosion. He also guided those who weren’t familiar with Storify as a tool, by reminding them how to use it along the way. By giving multiple accounts of the accident, gathering pictures from social media, and pulling from the official emergency response messages, he was able to give a well-rounded picture of what was going on in real time.
Other finalists in the social media category were:
- Jeff Edelstein of The Trentonian for his Facebook engagement during Hurricane Sandy.
- Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis of The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., for her coverage of the reaction to a high school’s withdrawal of an invitation to a commencement speaker who is gay.
Harold is a state government reporter for the Charleston Daily Mail in Charleston, W.Va. A native West Virginian, Harold is a 2009 graduate of the University of Charleston, where he studied print journalism, and joined the Daily Mail shortly after completing his degree. He began as the newspaper’s education reporter, before switching to a general assignment/health beat. In December, he became a member of the Daily Mail’s statehouse team, where he covers the West Virginia Senate. Harold also writes for the paper’s state government blog, the Capitol Notebook, and publishes a weekly email newsletter, The Capitol Notebook Week in Review.
His winning coverage on Storify is embedded below: