Les Nessman was a legend in journalism as news director at WKRP.
But despite winning the Buckeye News Hawk Award and the Silver Sow Award for pork coverage, Les always seemed inadequately equipped.
His rival journalist had a helicopter, so Les went out and covered news in a crop duster.
Les never had an office; thus, he taped fake wall lines on the floor around his workspace and required people to “knock” before coming in.
Well, the journalistic tools have come a long way since Les’ fictional days in Cincinnati.
Last week in New Orleans, one of our best, Joe Scalzo, got the chance to use all the tools of a modern reporter while covering the Super Bowl for The Vindicator.
The old days of newspaper coverage at such an event meant parking yourself and your notebook into the press box and recording the key points of the game, and then returning to the office to write. During late-running events, you might call in those thoughts over the phone.
The ’80s and ’90s saw keyboards and laptops come into play at these events.
Over the past few years, our team has been pretty adept at live reporting from the events.
But today, it’s full-blown multimedia production for journalists — photos, videos, tweets, short blurbs, Facebook and old-school stories.
Our Canfield Fair team has been pretty adept at it the past couple years. (Go to my blog on vindy.com to read about fair reporter Ashley Luthern.) At the Super Bowl, Joe got to show his chops and was pretty darn good at it.
It didn’t go unnoticed by readers.
Said Penny P.: Today’s “One dream comes true in Big Easy” is a classic. You made me feel that I, too, shared the excitement of the Super Bowl. You highlighted all those things fans see and probably remember for years.
What struck me most was your closing comment. Some people want to rub it in your face that THEY got to go and you did not. But you summed it up so well ... Sunday was a dream come true.
Said Janet M.: Just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed Joe Scalzo’s articles. He is a very entertaining writer who has done a great job.
Joe got to New Orleans at 3 p.m. Friday. Equipped with an iPad, a wireless hot spot and his old- fashioned laptop, he was a walking newsroom, and over the next two days achieved:
60 tweets to the 5,000-plus people who follow The Vindicator on Twitter.
5 videos on vindy.com, including a taste of Bourbon Street life, Mardi Gras floats and Mooney High School’s John Young. (Not sure which of the three was most colorful.) The videos are still up on vindy.com. Check them out.
10 NewsWatch blurbs onto vindy.com
And six traditional bylines for The Vindicator.
Of special note regarding the changing ways we report and the changing ways you read us:
Joe’s Twitter work picked up new readers as he promised some of his Super Bowl freebies to any new followers. About 40 people signed up for the chance at some free schwag.
When the power went out during the third quarter, a vindy.com blurb by Joe on that event drew 1,000 readers when it happened.
Les Nessman would have liked an iPad and walking wireless. I’m sure he would not have been as good as Joe.
But Les had an office — even if it was taped to his floor.
We’ll have to work on that for Joe.
Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs, too, on vindy.com. Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.