The Daily Iowan’s coverage of Dance Marathon’s 2012 Big Event at the University of Iowa garnered more than 17,000 hits in 24 hours on the campus media organization’s website, newsroom leaders announced today. The Dance Marathon organization at Iowa has raised more than $11 million for pediatric cancer patients and their families in the last 18 years.
The DI staff established an on-site broadcasting studio and newsroom at the Iowa Memorial Union to produce content and post it to the web as quickly as possible. DI staffers published more than 50 stories and photos to dailyiowan.com on Feb. 3 and 4, as well as live video updates each hour of the 24-hour event, which raised a record $1.3 million this year.
“Even though all of us were exhausted and starting to hit our breaking points, no amount of coverage to this event could have ever been enough,” said UI freshman Kristen East, one of the DI staffers who stayed at the event for the entire 24 hours.
Daily Iowan Editor Adam B Sullivan estimates the staff put in more than 300 man-hours during the one-day event.
“I couldn’t be more excited with the effort and dedication of these journalists,” Sullivan said. “In my tenure as editor, I don’t think I’ve ever seen staffers from all sides of the organization — TV, photo, and print — working together so well.”
The DI’s event coverage caught recognition from the Associated Collegiate Press, which called the effort “an impressive multi-platform real-time reporting performance”
In addition to up-to-the-minute event coverage, the DI published 10 stories the week before the event, profiling participants and exploring different aspects of the Dance Marathon organization. What’s more, the staff put out a special edition of Daily Iowan TV and a multimedia feature with thousands of photos from the event that can be accessed at http://www.dailyiowan.com/2012/02/06/Metro/26853.html.
“Covering Dance Marathon was one of the most tiring and rewarding experiences of my life,” said DI metro reporter Jordyn Reiland, a UI freshman. “I was so moved by the stories of these families — and thrilled that I could write about them. That opportunity reinforced my goals of becoming a professional journalist.”