When snowflakes began flying on Oct. 29, 2011, in Connecticut, newsrooms heeded the warnings of the meteorologists: heavy, wet snow on still-leafy trees meant disaster. Nearly a foot of snow fell in some areas, and Connecticut faced one of the biggest disasters in history.
When damaged trees fell on utility wires, the state experienced the biggest blackout ever. More than 800,000 people were without power, and some were stuck in their houses for up to two weeks because of downed trees, wires and power poles.
I was working as a reporter/meteorologist for the NBC affiliate in Hartford, and this was going to be one of our biggest stories. Because of the massive blackout, few people could see our reports, however. Before this storm, using social media had been just another aspect of the job. After the storm, I was thankful, as were my managers, that I had built up a social network via Facebook and Twitter. This “electronic Rolodex” helped me cover the stories following the storm and my experience gave me some lessons to take back into the classroom.