The Journal Star in Peoria, Ill.,takes a proactive approach in reporting and following Tuesday's report that the Chicago Cubs may change its Class A affiliation from Peoria to Kane County.
WHAT THEY DID: The Journal Star reacted quickly to the news involving Peoria's affiliation with the Chicago Cubs' minor league team and provided its readers with valuable content on all of its delivery platforms.
"We got word of the possible Peoria Chiefs affiliation change from a report on Twitter," Journal Star executive editor Dennis Anderson said. "As soon as we saw that, our Chiefs reporter, Kevin Capie, called Chiefs president Rocky Vonachen, who was surprised by the news, saying our call was the first he heard of it.
"We then posted the news on Twitter and Facebook, following that up with a story online. In our archive, we found some great photos of the Chiefs players getting their team photo taken at Wrigley Field to go with our online story."
Under the direction of sports editor Kirk Wessler, Capie wrote the main story, moved the topic forward with a Q&A on what is next for the Peoria-based team and separated myth from fact with a blog post. He worked the news on Twitter and the staff posted an entry on Facebook that drove traffic to the stories and blog. There also was an online poll asking readers what future major league team they would want to see affliliated with Peoria.
Journal Star columnist Phil Luciano has asked readers for support via email to keep the Cubs' affiliation in Peoria.
"(Chiefs owner) Pete Vonachen and Dutchie Caray (widow of Harry, Pete's best friend) rip on the Cubs for apparently pulling out of Peoria," Luciano said. "At Pete’s urging, we’ll request an email campaign in support of keeping affiliation here; if we get enough responses, I’ll drive them up to Tom Rickett’s office."
THE TAKEAWAY: The Journal Star was prepared for the arrival of big news and used print, Web and social media to deliver the coverage. The key is to have a structure and plan in place before splash events occur so you can not only be on top of the news but also stay ahead of it.