Knight Fellow Aids Trainees in Covering a Bombing In Their Own Backyard

Jun 272008

When a bomb exploded on February 15 near Mexico City's Security Ministry, just a few blocks away from the Televisa news headquarters, the first word of the explosion – which killed one person – came not from the wires, but from a colleague. Jill Begovich, an intern at Televisa online, heard about the blast just as soon as it happened, when news of the explosion was broadcast by radio reporters who happened to be on the scene. "My first impulse was to call in," Begovich said.

Alan Hernandez, Televisa trainee, calling the newsdesk on his cellphone right after the bombing in Mexico City. PHOTO CREDIT: Susana Seijas

Juan Manuel Ortega, the director of Televisa news online, rushed into the web team's newsroom after speaking with Begovich. Alan Hernandez, a 22-year-old editor who recently began working at Televisa online, sped to the scene with Knight Fellow Susana Seijas, arriving there 15 minutes after the radio report.

“For me this was a chance to do a different type of journalism,” said Hernandez. “We knew the wires would have all the grisly photos and facts, but what we needed was color. Susana coached me to report on everything that was happening around the scene of the crime, and we took photos of all the cops – and of a man peering out of his blown-out windows.”

Televisa online's presence at the scene resulted in “Testimonies of an explosion,” a web-only story and slideshow. The online team together debated and culled 14 digital photographs from more than 100, and Sergio Espinoza, an online editor, assembled the slideshow and wrote captions.

Alan Hernandez interviewing a restaurant manager near the scene of the blast. PHOTO CREDIT: Susana Seijas

One photograph shows Televisa's traditional media on the scene, with Miguel Nila, a breaking-news reporter, reporting live on camera amid a chaotic mix of police and reporters. Though he admitted he rarely checked the network's online offerings, Nila later praised the slideshow. “It shows you a complete picture of what all of us tried to do that day: cover complex story from a variety of angles that yielded very few answers.”

The reasons for the bombing remained mysterious even days later, and the slideshow has proved popular, with over 20,000 hits over three days. Televisa Online statistics called this a good number, though not as strong as the 19,000 page hits in one day earlier in the week for a story about an earthquake in Mexicali."

“I want to see more of this type of reporting, and whenever I can, will be sending a member of my team to cover such news stories,” said Ortega, head of the online team. “It definitely gives our readers some value-added content.”

Click here to view Televisa slideshow “Testimonies of an explosion,” by trainee Alan Hernandez of noticierostelevisa.com.