That was the start to what would be a long day trying to keep track of the latest developments in the story.
What started off as a raid at one dispensary turned into a raid at two dispensaries, then at a bar, then a strip club, and then at a home.
How we did it
1) I put a two sentence story up on our website. It went something like this "A raid of a medical marijuana facility is taking place in Walled Lake. The Oakland Press is sending a reporter to the scene."
2) I grabbed the iPhone, which once again proved itself as one of the most valuable tools to cover breaking news. While en route, I called a photographer to give him a heads up and promised a callback once I figured out where the raid was taking place.
3) Once on scene, I called back to the office and, for the sake of expedience, gave the information on the dispensary's name, address, phone number and website to staffer Valerie West. (What turned out to be really neat was that Valerie instantly recognized the dispensary as the one she'd recently gotten kicked out of while working on a story about medical marijuana ordinances in the county.) While it was comforting to know I could've updated the story from the iPhone itself, it was still faster to call back to the office and relay the information over the phone rather than fumble with the iPhone little's keypad.
5) I shot photos using Dropbox on the iPhone. We may have very well been the first news outlet in the area to have images of the raid online.
6) I took video with the Flipcam.
7) I was on the scene from 8:30 a.m. to nearly 10:30 a.m. Once back in the office, I set about making calls like mad. Meanwhile, other staffers at the office were also making calls. By the time I arrived back at the office, we had a full-fledged story with photos posted online, and a reporter and videographer en route to a second raid. We continued updating the story throughout the day.
How we could've done it better
1) I spent a lot of time on the scene, had the iPhone handy and could've been Tweeting. Should have been Tweeting. Mental note taken for next time.
2) I could have shot a 15-second video via Dropbox and had video online before any other news outlets too. We need more people set up with Dropbox.
In total, the stories about the raid garnered 10,283 pageviews — pretty good for us.
At the end of the day, we had a comprehensive story with two videos and a huge variety of photos. The staff really worked as a team to get the latest on this story, keeping it freshly updated and making it a solid multi-media story package.
See the full story, WITH VIDEO: Feds raid Oakland County Medical Marijuana dispensaries
The photos posted here are from the iPhone. The video is my contribution; our full-time videographer has a second video from a second location posted within the story file.