Mike LaCrosse, a 2010 graduate of the UMass Journalism program, and now a reporter/producer for WGGB-TV in Springfield, Mass. found himself in the middle of the Springfield tornado coverage this week. The tornado was a local story that quickly went national, with a report from LaCrosse making it onto the ABC Nightly News broadcast.
“Being on network was pretty crazy,” said LaCrosse. “I didn’t know until later that night. ABC was recording all of our newscasts and used a phoner I did. I started getting calls from people when the service got better telling me. I was also on Channel Five in Boston and WBC radio. It is pretty awesome being seen and heard as the lead story on network.”
“Overall it’s been a crazy and emotional last few days.”
Some more thoughts from LaCrosse:
1. Where were you when the tornado hit Springfield? What did you do?
I was in the newsroom running back to where our sky camera video comes in getting an operator to turn it so we could see it.I spirited back to the newsroom and was told to get to downtown so photographer Alan Rosko and I headed there and were in the south end within 10 minutes of the hit.
2. Were you surprised by the amount of devastation in Springfield?
I was shocked at what I was seeing. People were everywhere; trees were down; bricks were scattered everywhere; cars destroyed. It was overwhelming.
3. Describe what you did during coverage on Wednesday and Thursday?
Wednesday night I was all over the South End of Springfield. Talking to witnesses getting images. I kept doing live phone interviews during our five hour wall-to-wall coverage. We were all over. We ended up going live from Court Square. After that we continued talking to people about what they saw and their damage.
4. Describe the role of social media in your reporting.
Social media was tough because there was very limited cell phone service in the downtown area.
5. What has surprised you most about the coverage of the tornadoes?
Just how widespread the damage was and how people still remain in good spirits despite losing everything.