For the last several days — six, I think? — all I’ve been thinking and writing about is snow, snow and more snow.
Actually, I take that back. I did get some respite working on a story about oysters in between all the snow coverage.
I’m sure everyone knows by now that Maryland has been dumped with insane amounts of snow this winter, and especially in the past week.
Snow coverage is an interesting proposition.
On one hand, it presents an automatic series of story ideas: How much snow? When is it coming? Will schools close? How will kids make up the days? What is it like to be a plow driver? Where are the best places to sled? How much money is snow removal costing? Does salt hurt the environment? The list goes on and on.
But on the other hand, those stories have all been done before. And when you’ve got back-to-back-to-back snowstorms, you’ve done all those same stories quite recently.
The challenge as a reporter is to try and find creative angles for your stories and to write them in creative ways.
Here’s how I started off one story this week:
We’re not even dug out yet from the Blizzard of 2010, and another storm is bearing down on us.
The region stayed mostly shut down today, with schools and government offices closed, trash pickup canceled, no commuter trains and limited operations at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Even state lawmakers in the Maryland General Assembly didn’t go to work today.
Plow crews for the city, county and state continued to work around the clock in hopes of clearing as much snow and ice as possible before more snow arrives tomorrow.
But it’s not looking good.
My colleague E.B. Furgurson III, who has not gotten a break from the snow in ages, did a great job today, starting his story off like this:
We get it.
The once bucolic snowy scene created by last weekend’s snow has started to seem more like some sort of Siberian purgatory, and now our sentence has been extended by another storm.
You’ll see something in common with these stories — a casual, friendly tone, instead of the usual staid, authoritative newspaper tone.
Editors, thankfully, tend to let us show a little more of our personalities in snow writing. Certainly, if there were more injuries and problems related to the snow, we would be more serious. You can’t joke about certain things.
Have you seen some excellent snow writing? I’d love to learn what other people like (or hate!) about snow coverage. Feel free to leave a comment.