The Sun Herald's Pulitzer Prize-winning, post-Katrina coverage

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast in August 2005, thousands were left cut off, devastated, alone. But the (Biloxi) Sun Herald and SunHerald.com never stopped publishing, in print or online.

With communications down, electricity sporadic and many newspaper employees missing, SunHerald.com kept the news flowing to residents, evacuees, friends and relatives around the clock.

Sports writer Don Hammack staffed a blog that reported on events as the storm progressed, even as his home was destroyed.

Photographers used satellite phones to transmit photos to the Web site, creating a compelling image gallery.

Discussion boards allowed residents to reach out to friends and loved ones and report losses. SunHerald.com then launched an interactive map that tracked damage in key local communities.

Editors tapped readers' experiences and asked them to submit digital photos of local damage. Hundreds responded. Later, editors grouped "Before & After" images. Katrina photos are available in two books. SunHerald.com launched a Flash feature that showed the impact of the storm on local landmarks.

During the crisis and the weeks that followed, readers thirsty for information reached out to the paper through the Web site, and the paper and Web site reached back. Both continue to play a key role in Mississippi's rebuilding and renewal.

Highlights of the coverage:

SunHerald.com home pages

Multimedia slideshow highlighting the frequent, daily home page updates - stories, headlines and photos - throughout the Hurricane Katrina coverage.
(Macromedia Flash required)

Sun Herald Featured Products

Katrina Before and After

The Sun Herald tells the story of 2005's Hurricane Katrina destruction on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Shots of areas on the Gulf before and after the storm. Buy the book here.
Katrina: Eight Hours That Changed the Mississippi Coast Forever

The Sun Herald documents the effect Katrina had on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Best-seller on the devastation in Mississippi in 2005. Buy the book here.

Blog | Eyes on Katrina

Sun Herald sports reporter Don Hammack used a blog to update readers before, during and after the storm. Scroll bottom up to see the unfolding commentary and information for readers.
Also contributing: Geoff Pender and Sara Greer

Multimedia | Video & Audio

Watch videos of local damage that were posted to SunHerald.com in the aftermath of Katrina.

Renewal

These planning documents, generated from community brainstorming efforts, were part of the "renewal" process to rebuild the Mississippi Coast. PDF documents

Reader-Submitted Photos

The Stories of Katrina photoblog had been set up and promoted for only three hours on 9/02, and already users both in Biloxi and those who had evacuated had posted more than 50 images of the storm, damage and lost loved ones. The blog received almost 1.6 million page views in September, with 183,000 of those in the first eight hours.
Even with limited electrical power, local readers were able to report their view of the disaster by uploading their own photographs to SunHerald.com.

Readers began searching for relatives using the same photo tool:

Photos: Before & After

The Sun Herald has been publishing "before and after" images showing damage to local landmarks. Click here to find a list of images labeled "Flash animations" and then select a location. (Link will open in a new window.)

Photo Gallery

As soon as the first newspaper photo from the storm was posted, readers were pouring over the images to find some sense of a familiar place. Many used the photos to try to tell whether the homes they had evacuated were still standing.

Here is as sampling of local images shot by Sun Herald photographers:

Online Maps

This online graphic allowed readers to click on a specific city to find the latest stories about that community during the storm. Initially, the map displayed damage reports. After the first week, it changed into links to more news.
To keep up with hurricane recovery, stay tuned to SunHerald.com/Katrina/.