MVP award goes to the editor who led our Olympics coverage

Gary-Kicinski_avatar_1380631196-300x300If a gold medal were to be given out for Digital First Media’s national coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics, we’d have to give it to the guy who led the show: Thunderdome sports editor Gary Kicinski.

Of course, there is no such gold medal, so Gary will have to settle for this month’s Thunderdome MVP/Under the Radar award. It’s not as shiny, but it does come with a $5 Starbucks gift card.

The Thunderdome Olympics desk received recognition earlier this month, winning Thunderdome’s cross-team collaboration award.

The nomination: Thunderdome’s MVP is voted on each month by a panel of anonymous judges. Anyone can be nominated by anyone on staff. Gary was nominated for the award by sports producer Matt Walks, who wrote:

On behalf of the team that tackled the Olympics, I just wanted to take a second to nominate Gary for MVP because of the way he made such a daunting event easy (and fun) to cover literally all hours of the day. Juggling the needs of all of our properties wasn’t easy, nor was making sure we producers didn’t lose our sanity. From Mission Control to Kelly and both Chrises, it was truly a team effort, but we couldn’t have done what we did without Gary.

The other nominees:

Jillian Sederholm was nominated by Patrick Hogan, who said: “When the news came out that Facebook was adding more gender options, we originally were going to wait for an official list to come out. It was Jillian who discovered how to get Facebook to display the list in profile options and who got the list out while everyone else was still reporting the original announcement.”

Kelly Metz was nominated by Mark Lewis, who said: “Kelly is definitely worthy of this honor. She’s been helping me capture feeds for NewsCred, and as always she’s the type who doesn’t mind carrying water to support a project. She’s hardworking and has exactly the type of personality and work ethic we should be presenting to our newsrooms. Bonus points for being a self-starter and consistently exceeding expectations.”

Meg Wagner was nominated by Jessica Glenza, who said: “She gets to Thunderdome at the crack of dawn, makes sure our pages look fresh and does an amazing job turning breaking news into rich, original content. As we all know, she also writes amazing headlines and is always willing to help. Also, she looks stylish doing it. Thanks Meg, for all you do!”

Nelson Hsu was nominated by Chris March. I said: “Please don’t tell me I’m the first person to nominate Nelson for Serendipity Day. Everyone who didn’t nominate him now owes the contest committee a Starbucks card. No excuses. Not only was this idea a perfect venture for Thunderdome, but the prep, organization and execution of it was super smooth. Our normal operations continued without fail while staff from all departments collaborated on some really awesome ideas that can and will have many use cases. And it appears that everyone who participated in something, learned something. That’s two birds with one stone, and Nelson threw the stone here. Bravo to his leadership and organization for seeing this through.

Karen Workman was nominated by Patrick Hogan, who said: “… and the rest of the breaking news team, but mostly Karen. Karen took the chaos of a month’s worth of updates on what’s happening in Ukraine and distilled it into a format that was both very informative but also creative and engaging.”

Matt Walks and Ross Maghielse were co-nominated by Chris Hopkins, who said: “I’d like to submit for recognition Matt Walks and Ross Maghielse, who for more than two weeks utterly demolished their Circadian rhythms in service of Digital First Media’s Olympics coverage. First one worked a 4 p.m. to midnight shift while the other worked a midnight to 8 a.m. shift, then they traded. I’ve worked some pretty weird hours during my career and even I’ve never been on the clock between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.”

Thing to know this week: Since Gary already provided some Olympics-related advice while accepting the cross-team collaboration award, he has a more general tip to share this week.

Go back and check your published link!

It seems obvious, but too often we fail to go back and see what our published story looks like on the Web after we’ve published an article. It is easy to forget to do when sometimes it takes 15 minutes or more to show up and you’ve already moved on to another article.

But the reasons to do so are many, including:

  • You might catch an error that wasn’t apparent to you in the editing environment.
  • You might notice a display issue that could not be presented in the preview mode (such as a byline problem, secondary photo issue, sidebar or promo box problem, etc.)
  • You might discover the publishing system is down if your article doesn’t even show up!
Chris March

By Chris March

Chris March is the community engagement manager for Digital First Media and the editor of Inside Thunderdome. Contact him by email at or follow his shenanigans on Twitter: @marchmcfly.

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