Surprise! The vice president is coming!

Vice President Joe Biden greets people after his speech Tuesday at Goode Elementary. Photo by Paul Kuehnel.

The Sunday night shift in any newsroom is, more often than not, pretty quiet.

And except for that little email I got from the White House saying Vice President Joe Biden was coming to York’s Goode Elementary School on Tuesday, this past Sunday was no different.

Regardless of your political views, a visit from a sitting vice president is a big deal.

So I spent Sunday night having reporter Tom Joyce call anyone who might have something to say about Biden’s visit. Most of what he got consisted of, “Huh? The vice president’s coming? No kidding!”

Not so good for quotes.

On Monday, I spent about three hours planning how we would cover his visit.

Joe Biden talks with a fourth-grade class Tuesday. Photo by Paul Kuehnel.

We decided to send three reporters:

  • Angie Mason, who focused on the city school district and the impact of Biden’s visit on it
  • Tom Joyce, who focused on the political aspects of Biden’s visit
  • Bill Landauer, who was The Tweeter during the visit and focused on the reaction of the average person

We also sent two photogs and videographers:

  • Eileen Joyce, our visuals editor, who livestreamed Biden’s speech

Joe Biden speaks to a packed room at Goode Elementary's library Tuesday. Photo by Paul Kuehnel.

Then, there was the online and social-media plan. With Sunday Editor Scott Blanchard off on Tuesday (lucky timing for a personal day!), that left Susan Martin, the metro editor (and my boss), and me to handle the rush of written information that would be coming from five people. Brad Jennings, assistant managing editor for visuals, was in charge of adding photos to the online story.

Susan took the website updates. She managed the presentation on ydr.com, adding bits of information in timed updates and changing headlines when appropriate.

I took the social media updates, which entailed three areas:

  • managing @ydrcom‘s Twitter account by retweeting what the reporters and photogs tweeted; retweeting what other people were saying; and tweeting links to our story and the page where we were livestreaming the speech.
  • Posting on the YDR’s Facebook page and managing the comments there by responding to questions and trying to engage readers on their thoughts about the visit
  • Posting to Google+, which does not yet allow businesses to have pages, so I had to rely on posting to my own Google+ page and hoping it hit the right circles to be shared

Photo by Paul Kuehnel

It was a whirlwind when it happened. Any technological glitch could have careened our well-laid plan off track, but we lucked out for the most part.

Thank goodness for Managing Editor Randy Parker, who bought Susan and me lunch at Chick-Fil-A.

The most fun part? When Biden tossed out that his dad had lived at the York YMCA for two years, a tidbit we had never known. Enter the need for biz reporter Lauren Boyer, who was put in charge of verifying that fact.

If you’re keeping score, that’s three editors — wait! four editors, because Business Editor Cathy Hirko sent out our email alert about the livestreaming — four reporters (two of whom also shot video and one of whom blogged extra information) and two photogs to cover one vice president.

What did you think of our coverage? Did you follow along online, either on ydr.com, Twitter or Facebook? Did you read the next day’s paper? Do you think I missed any areas in my planning?

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