‘This is our life. This is us.’ How our Florida journalists are covering Ian while living it

The USA TODAY Network has 18 local newsrooms across Florida working together to swarm the storm and be a source of information for readers often literally in the dark.


Local reporters, photographers and editors from Fort Myers and Naples, Florida, met in a hotel parking lot Thursday to plan their coverage of Hurricane Ian.

They knew they'd lose power and phone service at their southwest Florida homes, so planned to meet at noon at an inland hotel to regroup. But when they got there, the hotel had lost power too, so the meeting moved to the parking lot. 

There are about 30 journalists between the two newsrooms, both part of the USA TODAY Network. Many of them were already deployed, some embedded with emergency responders, some walking the roads and beaches that were safe, others trying to book boats and helicopters to get closer to the barrier islands hardest hit.

They go out in teams of two and try to communicate back to editors in the small patches of time they can find cell service. Teams are covering rescues, damage, power outages and impact across two counties, spreading out in every direction. 

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