Hurricane Irene, which slammed into the East Coast over the weekend, largely spared the New York area, which was forecast to take a direct hit.
Vermont wasn’t as lucky. Parts of the Green Mountain State were damaged by devastating floods. Whole towns, like Rutland, were cut off from the outside world by impassable roads.
The catastrophic damage in Vermont came as a nasty surprise, and many news organizations, including the Weather Channel, did not position crews there.
So how did the Weather Channel initially cover Irene from Vermont?
They used Storify, and curated pictures and video from Twitter and YouTube.
While major news organizations have been using Storify quite extensively during the past few months, the Weather Channel’s prominent use of the tool makes this notable. They used this as a core piece of their Irene package, instead of relegating it to a sidebar (as is commonly the case with a Storify). It was linked off of their homepage for some time, and aggressively aggregated via social media.
According to Storify’s count, the Weather Channel’s curation of Irene’s impact in Vermont was viewed a whopping 228,500 times.
This is definitely a coming of age for the very popular tool. What could be next?
Should large clients like the Weather Channel be required to pay for the (currently) free tool? Would a client like that deem Storify essential enough to pay money for it? Or would that backfire and would usage decline?
As Storify matures, these are questions that Storify’s CEO, Burt Herman, and his team will have to ponder. For now, Herman surely has to be proud of how far his tool has gone in a year’s time.