Editorial: Kudos to the staff after Mother Nature’s wrath

September 28, 2018

When lightning struck the Aiken Standard last night we had approximately 30 employees in the building. On task with their work, writing and editing stories, running the press, and inserting sales circulars for Thursday’s newspaper, the view through the windows was an awesome light show punctuated by crackling and rumbling that shook the building.

Lauren Haley was designing pages when she called Systems Manager David Boyd at home to say “I think the building was struck by lightning.” In spite of the fact that he had worked a full day, David arrived at the Aiken Standard minutes later and began running diagnostics in emergency mode.

The lightning knocked out the internet, a router, fried a switch, and basically left the computers unable to communicate with one another or talk to our backup printing press in Charleston.

David, and a dozen other staffers, put in an additional eight hours creating enough work to allow us to print a full paper for racks and stores by 8 a.m. and have enough front page sections printed so our home delivery subscribers will receive their Thursday’s front page sections today.

That jolt set this team in motion last night and this morning.

Any publisher would be proud to see this team’s drive to deliver the news to its community that not only depends on us, but also expressed sincere and heartfelt concern for the safety and well-being of our staff in the building. Audience Development and Retention Manager, Kathy Boyette, was notified of the lightning strike and how it would impact our readers at around 3:45 a.m. When she read the message, she knew she needed to get to the office as quickly as possible because, in her words, that’s what Scott Hunter would do. Mr. Hunter’s deep imprint on the Aiken Standard and its staff was evident today and so many other days.

Thank you for the reminder that what we do is important to you.

We are a better team after fighting a few battles together.

Last night’s incident, although minor in scale, reminds us that our sister newspaper, SouthStrand News in Georgetown, and many others are currently facing truly dangerous situations while covering news of the flooding and impact of hurricane Florence. We admire your fortitude and commitment to your profession.

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