Newspapers Battle The Floods p.14

By: STACY JONES NEWSPAPERS ARE SUPPOSED to cover natural disasters, but what happens when they get caught tangling with mother nature?
Several news organizations in flood-ravaged Ohio and Kentucky developed kinks in their operations ? primarily with distribution ? as a result of flooding in their coverage areas.
In the days immediately following the floods, the Portsmouth (Ohio) Daily Times, circulation 16,000-plus, got 90% of its papers out on time, but it was less than easy.
"We sent people out with very large boots," said Times editor Debbie Allard. "Our circulation manager jumped in a four-wheel drive and waded out to customers."
At the Frankfort, Ky., State Journal, a helicopter and a boat were used to deliver papers and report on stories. Still, about 10% of the Journal's normal circulation of 10,600 did not get to customers, said editor Carl West.
Bob Ashley had similar tales from the 32,000-circulation Owensboro, Ky., Messenger-Inquirer. Although 95% of subscribers received a paper, nearly 35% of those deliveries were late.
Carriers used utility vehicles and back roads to circumvent high flood waters and washed out streets, said Ashley.
None of the buildings housing the newspapers sustained damage and the majority of staff were able to make it to work.
However, at the Times, two reporters who lived near flooded areas were put up in a local Ramada by the paper's publisher to ensure they would be available for flood duty, said Allard.
Falmouth, Ky., was one of the most ravaged areas with most of the town under water. Calls to the weekly Falmouth Outlook went unanswered.
?(Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate flooded homes after the Ohio River overflowed its banks in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Some newspapers used helicopters and boats to deliver papers in the flooded areas) [Photo & Caption]


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