August 15, 2017

There are a lot of ways you can cover the total solar eclipse: maps, livestreaming, interactive graphics, a calendar, a documentary and good old-fashioned reporting.

But for the St. Louis Review, the celestial event is also an opportunity to examine how faith and science intersect. They even got the auxiliary bishop to pose for the cover in eclipse glasses.

“Obviously we look around here in St. Louis, and our local media has just been killing it,” said Jennifer Brinker, who writes for the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ publication. “We thought, why are we gonna repeat all that?”

Brinker looked into religious myths around eclipses, how science and religion fit together and how area schools will spend the day. They had fun with the piece and the eclipse — including the cover with the bespectacled bishop.

“For St. Louis,” she said, “this is kind of it for our lifetime.”

Poynter asked journalists in the path of the eclipse to talk about the coverage they’re planning. Is your newsroom in the path of the totality? Let us know what you’re planning and we’ll include below. Here’s how some local newsrooms are covering it:

Serving as a one-stop source/emergency broadcasting outlet

Malheur Enterprise is a small weekly in Vale, Oregon. Monday is usually a production day, but staff are now working to get the newspaper ready early so they can cover breaking news, said Les Zaitz, editor and publisher, in an email.

“We’re organizing to serve as a one-stop resource for the territory if there are indeed hordes and attendant issues. We’ll be active on social media throughout the eclipse days with the latest,” he said. “The big question for us: How true will be the forecast that thousands upon thousands will set up in our remote county to have a high chance of a cloudless eclipse?”

Readiness is crucial, Zaitz said.

“There is a competing small daily but no local TV, no local radio. In major winter storms, the community turned to us for literally hourly updates on road closures, building collapses and more. That experience underscored in triple lines we can be an effective emergency broadcasting outlet.”

Using those weather cams

KCMO plans to use weather cams to livestream the eclipse over Kansas City’s skyline, digital executive producer Taylor Shaw told Poynter in a tweet. They’re also planning to use 360-degree video to cover events for the eclipse.

Watching it. Duh.

Kelly Zegers is a staff writer at The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review on Long Island. She’s writing a user-friendly preview with advice on viewing, “then, I’m going to go to the event and write a column about the experience, which I’m super excited about. I bought a 10-pack of eclipse-viewing glasses on Amazon.”

As practice

In Canada, CBC made an all-things-solar-eclipse explainer, but it’s also great practice for the 2024 total solar eclipse, which will be off the shore of Lake Ontario.

Hannah Wise, CBC’s manager of news interactives, already knows where she’ll be.

“I’m 100% getting on a boat.”

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Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
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