Hurricane Ida bulled its way onto the shores of Louisiana on Sunday night, causing massive flooding and storm damage throughout the area. New Orleans in particular saw devastation, as the entire city lost power amid what forecasters are calling one of the most powerful storms ever to strike the U.S.
Amid the chaos, student media outlets are pumping out content to their audiences, touching on the “big story” scope of the issue, but also drilling down into things that matter directly to students on their campuses.
These publications understand the importance of knowing what’s going on at the college level, because while CNN and The Weather Channel are focused on mega graphics and drone coverage of devastation, students on those campuses want to know what’s open, what’s broken and where they should go to stay safe.
The students here are operating in less-than-ideal circumstances and are working to remain safe while still informing the people they serve. This is incredibly selfless and it’s also why it always infuriated me when “professional” media operatives or professors would note that campus media staffers were “just playing journalist.”
I don’t think the hurricane is taking it easier on these folks just because they’re college kids.
Take a look at some of the great stuff they’ve done in the past 24-48 hours:
Here’s a piece from the Tulane Hullabaloo that explains not only what the storm is doing to the campus area and what most concerns administrators:
A major concern of the Tulane community is the large tower crane overlooking several student residences on campus. In the Aug. 28 update, Tulane administrators provided insight into the status of the crane and its ability to withstand hurricane-force winds.
It also gives students information on how the school is handling the situation for students living on campus:
In an additional update posted to the Tulane University instagram page, off-campus students who feel unsafe were urged to come to the Lavin-Bernick Center prior to 8:30 AM.
This is the first time the LBC-Commons complex is serving as an impromptu housing arrangement for many students.
The Maroon at Loyola University in New Orleans took a look at what students, faculty and staff were doing in advance of the hurricane, finding more than a few who opted to make a run for it:
Those who have experienced hurricanes in the past are especially sensitive to the shift in plans. Visual communications freshman Virginia Armstrong is from Puerto Rico and said she was without power on the island for three months after Hurricane Maria.
Seeing people gather water bottles and other essential storm supplies struck a nerve in her before she drove off Friday night with her roommate and suitemate to stay at a relative’s home in Jackson, Mississippi.
“The pain never really goes away,” Armstrong said. “It’s there. You live with it.”
At Louisiana State University, multiple student media outlets were covering the storm and it’s impact on the student body on multiple levels. Tiger TV, the broadcast outlet at LSU, has posted updates about class cancellation and statements from university officials.
It has also nudged students toward its Twitter account, where it continues frequent updates as to what is happening around the students:
The Reveille, which has served as the campus newspaper since 1887, constructed a “tick tock” style set up on the front page of its website. This updates with key information as it becomes available, such as cases of storm damage, power outages and official announcements.
In addition, the staff continues to post breaking news stories on the site right underneath the website’s banner head, like this one on the cancellation of classes.
Aside from the breaking news and damage estimates, the publication managed to find some space to let people know about the status of the school mascot, a 4-year-old tiger named Mike. I would be willing to wager that this story tops all the others in terms of site hits today:
Mike the Tiger isn’t spending Hurricane Ida swimming in his pool or hiding under trees: he’ll be staying snug indoors and eating goat-milk popsicles until the high-speed hurricane passes through LSU’s campus.
I’m sure I”m missing some other good stuff out there, so feel free to add it in the comments.