One year ago an EF5 tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma and left 25 people dead. A month after the storm, Oklahoman reporter Paul Monies and CBS News Southern Bureau Chief Scott Keenan talked about their experiences covering the twister during a session at the 2013 IRE Conference.
Keenan encouraged journalists to question the injury and fatality numbers officials present. They're often wrong, he said. Keenan also offered tips for navigating the muddied, post-disaster chain of command and filing stories from the field.
To get real-time weather information, the Oklahoman sends a weather reporter to a local National Weather Service office on severe weather days. Monies, an energy reporter at the Oklahoma City-based paper, also discussed steps managers took to provide support for staff in the wake of the storm.
You can listen to all of their tips using our Soundcloud playlist.
IRE members can listen to the entire session, "Investigating after disaster," by logging in and clicking the link.
Here are a few investigations that came out of Moore tornado. Did we miss something? Send us a link at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At least 24 students and teachers were injured when cinder-block walls fell at Briarwood Elementary School. Seven students were killed at Plaza Towers School during the EF5 tornado. An analysis of the debris and interviews with experts turned up serious structural problems. Documents also revealed that an engineering firm with a history of design flaws had worked on one of the schools.
How prepared is your child's school for emergencies?
KWTV - Oklahoma City
Despite a 10-year-old state law requiring schools to have up-to-date safety and disaster plans on file with local emergency management officials, 9 Investigates at KWTV in Oklahoma City and 6 Investigates at KOTV in Tulsa, Okla., found that few districts are in compliance. Often, fewer than half the schools in an area had current plans on file, and very few private schools did.