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Eau Claire, Wis., Stations Provide Critical Tornado Coverage (WEAU-TV, WQOW-TV)

Topic: Disaster Relief and Recovery

Local television stations in Eau Claire, Wis., provided critical coverage during a May 13 tornado that killed one person, injured others and caused millions of dollars in damage. A trailer park was destroyed, leaving dozens without homes. Gray Television’s WEAU-TV Creative Service Director Andrew Felix offered TVNewsCheck an account of WEAU’s live warnings, three hours of nonstop coverage and promotions for a fundraiser held in the aftermath. One viewer later said, “I was watching you guys [at WEAU] faithfully there, and you kept saying to take cover, so I did.”

Quincy Media’s ABC affiliate WQOW-TV also provided continuous live coverage of the tornado onair and via social media. They reported live from the destroyed trailer park, aired a video of the tornado submitted by a viewer and produced a 30-minute prime time special after the storm. “We were pretty proud of it. We’re a small station, with a small staff,” News Director Dan Schillinger told TVNewsCheck. “But our team rose to the challenge of covering a disaster and performed like big-market pros.”


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