June 11th, 2008
11:43 PM ET

Chaos in Iowa and in the control room

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/11/art.ambulance.jpg caption="An ambulance transports people injured by a tornado that touched down a Boy Scout camp near Little Sioux, Iowa, Wednesday evening."]
Kelly Daniel
AC360° Staff

Tonight we threw out everything we spent hours planning for the show; a tornado hit a Boy Scout camp in Little Sioux, Iowa, and we were getting reports of injuries and fatalities. We focused first on getting in contact with eyewitnesses and Iowa officials, then getting them on the air to get you the latest information.

What’s interesting about a control room during breaking news is that it’s very hard to get a grasp on what is happening. Each night I work on graphics, adding text, backgrounds, maps, and other art to the show. From the back row I can keep a handle on who we have on the phone for interviews, what names need to go on screen, and what information the producers want in our graphics on the television screen. But it’s hard to hear what the guests are saying because there is so much commotion; who’s going on next, when are we going to break, what video can we play, what are our affiliates airing?

Here’s what CNN is reporting, much of it from our guests on AC360° this evening:

  • At least four people were killed and more than 40 were injured at the camp
  • 120 people, including 93 campers, were believed to be at the camp at the time of the storm
  • The scouts at the ranch were advanced scouts between 13 and 18 years old

We already have correspondents traveling to western Iowa to bring a full report tomorrow. And I am on my way home to hear what our guests had to say – the show re-airs at 1a.

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. mitch

    As an Eagle scout that grew up in the Omaha area,and I DID attend the camp at Little Sioux. I would like to thank all the reporters that ALSO braved the bad weather to get us the news.. I would Also like to say to all you negative thinkers, the family of the scouts do read and watch the news so please keep your negative thoughts to your self.Our prayers go out to the families of All the Scouts.

    June 12, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  2. Chris K

    I've been reading the CNN headlines all day, following the tragedy in Iowa. As a father of two Boy Scouts (ages 13 and 11) I just want to point out that these scouts didn't "turn into" heros because of the tragedy – they ARE heros because of the sacrifices they make throughout the year for their communities and their country. As an example, as many an adolescent enjoyed a beach or pool this past memorial day, scouts across the country spent hours repaying our countries debt to servicemen and women by serving at BBQ's and other functions at VA hospitals and homes. It's unfortunate that it takes the loss of four wonderful lives and the physical and emotional trauma of countless others to actually shed light on the fact that scouts – boy and girl – are not the heros of tomorrow, the are heroes now and everyday. God bless the families at their time of loss.

    June 12, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  3. Bill in Nebraska

    Julie in San Diego,

    Breaking news like what I blogged about last night here, this is the kind of thing that everyone needs to here. I know I kind of hijacked the Anchor Desk Blog but, This is the kind of thing where parents and loved ones could be watching AC360 and never know this happened. It also effects more than just us in the local area of these tornado's. This with all of the rain and flooding is going to effect everyone. It looks like we are going to lose a lot of crops this year. That is going to make food costs skyrocket and we all need to prepare for these things.

    To me, having lived in the L.A. area as a kid, I could give a flying rip about the fires in southern California. But when those things happen you have to get the story out. You never know where people will get there info from. There are a lot of people that look to CNN because it really is one of the best news sources there is.

    So, Julie, though you don't really care about breaking news, there are tens of thousands that do. Because of these things the word gets out faster and more people are ready and willing to help. Without coverage like this it would be much worse then it is now. Within 30 minutes of the tornado hitting the Scout Camp in Little Sioux there were over one hundred emergency responders on the site. There were more than 200 other people that showed up to help. This was totally amazing. We out here have never seen this kind of selfless response.

    So, Julie, just remember what you have said about breaking news when that hill or that valley behind your house catches fire and starts to make that 60 mph run at your house. Or maybe the next time a 7.5 earthquake hits your area. Just remember that you don't like places like CNN to cover breaking news. I don't mean to be harsh here but I have lived through a lot of things like this in my life. I was in L.A. in 1971 or 1972 when the 7 plus earthquake hit. I was there when every hill around L.A. was on fire. I was here in Omaha in 1975 when the tornado hit just 15 blocks from my family home. So I have live a few things in my 40 years.

    Once again I just want to thank everyone that took this story and ran with it. I don't know if I helped anything in my blogging but it was the only thing I could do. I had to do something. This story will continue to grow and we will hear a lot more about just how heroic those scouts were.

    June 12, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  4. GF

    With the floods and tornados, has anyone thought about the fact that whatever crops were to be yielded in those areas will not exist for harvesting thereby compounding the food shortage so food will cost even more?

    June 12, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  5. Dean Schindler

    It is such a tragedy when something like this happens, but when it is a child that is taken by such surprise, the grief is triple fold. I hope everyone keeps these beautiful children as well as their friends and families in his / her prayers.
    It seems we are seeing such a HARSH weather pattern alredy this year. We have had so many tornados and heavy rain storms to date, extreme heat taking over the South and Eastern Seaboard...I just wonder what the hurricanes will be like this year in the Gulf! All predictions say this will be a smaller hurricane season, but with all that has happened thus far, I wonder if someone has made a mistake.

    June 12, 2008 at 11:12 am |
  6. Megan Dresslar

    My thoughts and prayer with boy scout teenagers their counselor,
    Please bless them all people who hurt and death, my heartbreaking for them......... Thanks for tell me durning breaking news due tornadoes midwest, so awful storm tonight and last night........ I can't wait to hear reporter what happening in Iowa and Nebraska.
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, Wa

    June 12, 2008 at 3:06 am |
  7. Julie San Diego, CA

    Hi Kelly,

    I'm curious as to what percentage of your viewers watch because they want to see "Breaking News".

    I watch because I know you're going to give me a balanced, intelligent report on a current topic. If you have to take a little time to "dig deeper" and find out the real story, that's fine with me, because I might not even watch the Tivo of the report for a few days.

    "Breaking News" is wasted on me.

    How many others out there feel the same?

    Speak up audience. Why do you watch?

    June 12, 2008 at 1:39 am |
  8. Bill in Nebraska

    Kelly, Campbell, and Erica,

    I want to thank you for taking this story and running with it. I know it had to be rough for you all there. I was hard for me here in Omaha and trying to post anything I could. I will have to watch the rerun of the show because I was watching the local channel to keep track of everything.

    Like I say, to all of you that ran with this and those that are heading out to cover it now. Thank you, every last one of you. I also want to thank all of the guests that helped with the coverage as well as the ones that were moved in the show. I want to thank the bloggers as well for letting me run with the Anchor Desks Blog. You all were very supportive.

    At this point in time being 11:50 pm local time here in Omaha, they are saying that not just have all of the people been found but now that all of the injured and living have been reunited with there loved ones.

    So to all of you there at AC 360 and CNN as well as the message board, thank you for everything.

    Bill in Nebraska

    June 12, 2008 at 12:52 am |
  9. Cindy

    I was extremely sad to hear of the boys who lost their lives tonight in Iowa! I am glad that no more were lost! Hopefully things calmed down there.

    I hope that you all will show the Mic Ware report tomorrow night. Also please show Anderson's report from Cameroon!


    June 11, 2008 at 11:52 pm |