It floods in southern Iowa, but the world will never know

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At this very moment, the National Weather Service has flash flood warnings in effect for Clarke, Adams, Union, Taylor, Ringgold, and Decatur counties. Flash flood warnings are a pretty big deal, since they represent immediate threats to life and property. But even though more than 45,000 people live in those six counties (at least according to the Census figures), live online news coverage of the area is difficult to find. Clarke County has the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune, which has a pleasant-looking site, but no information on flooding anywhere to be found. The Adams County Free Press only appears online in historical archives. Union County has the Afton Star-Enterprise (not to be found on the Internet) and the Creston News-Advertiser, which, like Osceola's paper, has a nice-looking website (thanks to its Illinois parent company), but no news about the flooding.

Moving into Taylor County, the Bedford Times-Press has no coverage of the floodwaters, and the Lenox Time Table appears to be AWOL online. Ringgold County has the Diagonal Progress, with some nice photos of Diagonal but no news content, and the Mount Ayr Record-News, whose site is down at the moment. And in Decatur County, neither the Lamoni Chronicle nor the Leon Journal-Reporter has an online presence.

Considering how the Des Moines Register has abandoned all but the "Golden Circle" around the metro, it's no surprise that the paper appears to have nothing on the flooding story either -- nor do any of the other metro media outlets.

It's really not a blame situation: Times are tough, and small-town newspapers are often run on a shoestring. But in many places, the stories that really need to be covered in real-time (like flooding) are being missed online, where it would seem reasonable to turn first.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian Gongol published on May 15, 2009 3:50 PM.

About that shooting in West Des Moines was the previous entry in this blog.

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