A quick introduction- I'm Renee Johnson, the Internet Producer for WLOX.com. I grew up in Ocean Springs and have worked at the station for 12 years. I'm just one of the many "behind the scenes" people who help get the news on the air, and on the web each day.
I'll be riding out the storm here in the newsroom, along with about 40 or 50 of my fellow employees.
People always ask why we tell people over and over to evacuate, when we stay behind. Well, I promise you, most of us would evacuate if we could. But staying and reporting on what's happening is our job. I have a 13-month-old daughter, and I learned today there's nothing harder than kissing your baby goodbye so you can go sit in the path of a Category 5 storm.
Let me paint a picture of our newsroom tonight. There are lots of phones ringing. Our Executive Producer Natalie Campen is frantically trying to figure out how we can keep our closed captioning up during un-scripted storm coverage. There are so many groups we want to make sure are informed - our hearing impaired viewers, those who may only speak Spanish or Vietnamese, etc...
Our Morning Anchor Rhonda Weidner just walked in with an overnight bag, a sleeping bad, and all the ice cream out of her freezer. (Might as well eat it before the power goes out!) Most of the staff will spend the night here tonight. I'm not sure how much sleep anyone will be able to get.
The studio here on DuBuys Road in Biloxi is only about a block from the beach. We've been told for years that the building withstood Hurricane Camille in 1969, so it should make it through any storm. I hate to say it looks like we'll finally put that theory to the test.
I'll post again when I can and update you on what's happening here at the station and in the Biloxi-Gulfport area in general. Click here to send me an email. I'll try to answer any questions, but I have a feeling things are going to get pretty crazy in the next 24 hours.