Associated Press executive editor Kathleen Carroll notes that her journalists covering Hurricane Sandy “are covering a story that involves you and your families quite directly. Hundreds of AP folks lost power and many will be without it for days to come. Yet you’ve put the story first and been enormously creative in finding ways to contribute.”
Read her thank-you message and AP president Gary Pruitt’s memos after the jump.
AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll’s memo to the storm coverage team
It’s Wednesday, Day Three of Storm Sandy and the aftermath and a good time to take a deep breath.
First, I offer my congratulations and admiration … the coverage has been smart, swift, anticipatory and insightful. The images _ still and video _ have been riveting and iconic. The stories _ from loads of smart NewsNows to the pieces that capture sweeping impact _ have been smart, sharp and informative.
Many of you are covering a story that involves you and your families quite directly. Hundreds of AP folks lost power and many will be without it for days to come. Yet you’ve put the story first and been enormously creative in finding ways to contribute.
This story is going to be a long haul in several parts of the United States, particularly the hardest-hit areas in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Millions of people are without power and without the public transportation that gets them from here to there and back.
Very soon, the charm of eating by candlelight, trying to occupy kids not in school and organizing alternative ways to work will wear thin.
We are resilient folks, but the loss of daily norms can take a toll that can potentially impact our work. As your colleagues along the Gulf Coast, in Asia and places that have lived through similar storms can tell you, it’s important to treat this as a marathon.
As the adrenaline wears down, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, that you’re eating right and taking some time to look after your own needs.
We’ll need to rely on extra patience and tolerance; folks will be frayed and we need to cut each other some slack. Extra doses of “please” and “thank you,” will go a long way.
We want to keep our brains rested because we’ll need extra creativity for this story going forward. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, people will still be without power and we don’t want to fall into the trap of boring “Day 27 without power along the East Coast” coverage.
And oh, by the way, there is an incredibly close presidential election coming up in six short days.
We need your good ideas to drive the story, to create compelling coverage. That’s what will keep us ahead on these important stories.
Many of you have logistical hurdles to overcome. Keep talking with your managers about them and those managers can be in touch with Mike Bass, Director of News Operations, to sort some issues. To those with damaged homes and cars, don’t forget the AP Employee Assistance Fund. It was created for situations just like this.
AP people are very special _ devoted to doing the right thing and getting the story right. That’s true of folks in the News department and every other department in the company.
And you’ve shown that once again on this story. For that, I salute you and I thank you.
AP president Gary Pruitt letter to AP’s global staff living and working outside the New York metro area:
I wanted to bring everyone at AP up to date on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on our staff and our coverage as I know many of you are concerned about your colleagues.
We are very lucky that there have been no injuries among staff who live and work in the wake of this huge storm. Many staffers and their families, however, have suffered significant losses and recovery for them will be long term. We have colleagues who have lost their homes, their vehicles have been destroyed and their dwellings flooded or damaged. Many are still without power or transportation, and these problems may continue for days and weeks.
Our solid advance planning has allowed us to lead coverage of this challenging story, in text, video and photos. AP headquarters has kept its electric power, and a core team of editors, journalists, technicians and support staff have performed heroically. We owe thanks to them and to all those working remotely during this difficult time to assure that we can continue our news mission and provide the highest quality news coverage.
We will do everything we can to help staffers in need. We are lucky to be able to call on the resources of the AP Emergency Relief Fund, which was established by staff during Hurricane Katrina to provide quick infusions of money to colleagues in need.
If you wish to help by contributing, go to http://bit.ly/Rt5BeU or contact Ellen Hale, who heads the fund.
In the meantime, I’m sure I speak for all of you when I say that our thoughts and best wishes are with AP staff and their families affected by this disaster.
Pruitt’s note to New York headquarters staff and tech staffers in New Jersey:
Thank you very much for your heroic efforts during these very difficult days. The core team who has made it into the office and kept AP running and covering the news as well as those working remotely have done an amazing job. And I know that there are many of you without power and transportation who are frustrated by not being able to do more. This is destruction of monumental proportions, and I can assure each and every one of you that you will play a vital role in assuring that AP can continue to cover this challenging story.
We are very fortunate that we had no injuries. But many of our colleagues have suffered great losses – from entire homes washed away to destroyed automobiles, flooded dwellings and downed trees. Many can still not get to work and may face days yet without electricity.
At this point, we do not yet have a full idea of just how many are without power and transport. And while the storm may be over, the impact will be felt for some time as gas shortages, power outages, transportation issues and other problems continue in the coming weeks.
We will do everything we can to help staffers in need. We are lucky to be able to call on the resources of the AP Emergency Relief Fund, which was established by staff during Hurricane Katrina to provide quick infusions of money to colleagues in need. You can find out more about the fund and how to apply for assistance by going to http://bit.ly/Rt5BeU or contacting Ellen Hale, who heads the fund.
Please take care of yourselves as we continue to work our way through this disaster. And know how deeply I appreciate what all of you are doing.