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Home > Publications > Quill > Winner: Clarisa Gerlach & Staffs of TBO.com, WFLA-TV & The Tampa Tribune


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Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Winner: Clarisa Gerlach & Staffs of TBO.com, WFLA-TV & The Tampa Tribune

“Path of Destruction: Central Florida Storms”

Jim Poyser

Jessie Graf returns to the remnants of her house just as darkness falls.

The double-wide that once belonged to her parents has been condemned. A blue tarp covers part of the roof, but the back half of the mobile home is open to the elements.

Graf, a 68-year-old retired nursing assistant, becomes almost hysterical as she looks at her house.

“Every time I come here, I am speechless,” she says, nearly breaking into tears. “I don’t know what to say.”

An old school bus that was once parked two lots down is now in her side yard.

“This bus over, here,” she says, pointing to the hulk. “This ain’t my bus.”

— blog post by Howard Altman, Feb 3.

When violent storms lashed central Florida in the predawn hours of Feb. 2, TBO.com’s news staff swung into action to report the developing story. As the magnitude of destruction and the scope of the damage became clear, the team leveraged resources from The Tampa Tribune and WFLA-TV. The result was a comprehensive, minute-by-minute account, in words and images, of one of the biggest stories of the year.

TBO.com designed a presentation to serve diverse needs, and did so in the face of unrelenting deadline pressure.

Judges said: “Two things made this entry stand out: the impact of the site when viewed for the first time and the ease with which the readers could interact with the site. The slide show that pops up first with stirring images of the event catches a visitor’s attention and does not have to be searched out. The live blog offered another level of participation, and the request for photo submissions by readers is easy to find and easy to respond to. The site also has extensive coverage of the event, related issues, Red Cross and other emergency information. This site really demonstrates the dimension the Web can give to a story.”

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