Hurricane Ian left Florida devastated in its wake. Millions are without power, many people's homes are destroyed and it will take years for southwest Florida to recover. The Miami Herald, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and Bradenton Herald reached out to Subtext the day Hurricane Ian was expected to hit Florida, wanting to launch campaigns to help those impacted. The belief was that SMS would be the most efficient way to disseminate new information in a timely manner when many people would be without power or internet access.
The Subtext team was able to set up the campaigns same day, allowing the three organizations to share them with their audience immediately. Over 8,000 people wasted no time in signing up for Hurricane Ian updates. The immediate response from their audience proved that people were desperate for more information.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has been sending out multiple messages daily with information on curfews, boil orders, where residents can get food, and school updates.
Subscribers are also texting in questions and sharing photos and videos of the devastation. With the ability to have both 1-1 and 1-to-many communication, hosts are actively responding to subscribers to ensure everyone has the answers they need.
The Bradenton Herald has taken a different approach sending out daily messages with highlights for people in the Tampa Bay area including links for further reading.
Using SMS allows newsrooms to reach the masses in a time when internet and cable are unreliable, at best. The ability to cut through the noise and deliver information right to the screens of those affected gives subscribers peace of mind that they're not only getting the information they need, but they're getting it as soon as it's available.
As events like Hurricane Ian become more prevalent, newsrooms are looking for ways to make information more accessible to those who need it as soon as it's available. It's been an honor to help support these three heroic newsrooms while they work so hard during this difficult time to keep their communities safe and informed. We are keeping all those affected by the hurricane in our thoughts. Stay safe.