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Tom Meagher


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Editing 'Saints of the Storm'

I’ve been out of the daily reporting loop for months now as I fill in as an editor, but I have been involved in one cool project. One of my reporters is now in the Dominican Republic reporting a project on the destruction caused earlier in the month by Hurricane Noel. While she’s there (without a laptop, cellphone charger or camera cord–“lost” by the airline), I’m editing her copy and coordinating the project with the Web, photo, copy and marketing staffs.

Yesterday she was in the town of Piedra Blanca, an agricultural outpost of about 23,000 people that was devastated by the storm. Paterson, NJ has the highest population of Dominicans in the state and many of our readers hail from Piedra Blanca. They led Heather to this great story.

“We’re starting at zero,” said Dr. Carmen Garcia, the mayor of Piedra Blanca, while sitting in her sparse office on Tuesday. “This destroyed everything.”

The series will drop the next stories on Saturday and Monday with more to follow next week. It will be definitely worth a read if you’re interested in how new Americans return home to help their countrymen in need.

In the middle of juggling all the demands of launching this project yesterday, I did get to do a piece of data reporting. I actually managed to squeeze in an opportunity to run some SQL queries on a New Jersey accidents database for a reporter looking for some key data. She was looking for the number of accidents involving school buses in Passaic County over the last five years. I was quite pleased with myself that I could run the queries and find her answer in about 15 minutes. The number? 713.