Merrill Grad Danielle Lama Covers NASCAR Crash

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Merrill Grad Danielle Lama Covers NASCAR Crash
Mar 12, 2020

By Logan Hill

Social media has become an invaluable tool for any reporter. Philip Merrill graduate Danielle Lama experienced that truth firsthand during her coverage of NASCAR driver Ryan Newman’s violent crash during the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17.

A reporter at Fox 35, an Orlando-based Fox affiliate, Lama was one of the first reporters on the scene at Halifax Medical Center following Newman’s crash during the final lap of the race.

After arriving at the hospital, Lama posted a tweet mentioning where the media was being staged, along with a picture of the hospital. The tweet garnered more than 900 retweets and 2,500 likes, as of March 9.

“I think I was initially kind of shocked that my tweet got picked up,” Lama said. “There were so many people messaging me that I couldn’t keep up with it.”

After that initial tweet gained traction, Lama become one of the leading reporters in the live coverage of Newman’s condition as it unfolded. While it remained a waiting game for any new information regarding Newman’s condition, Lama’s Twitter mentions were flooded with racing fans both sending their condolences and discussing the events among one another.

Lama wasn’t even scheduled to cover anything related to the Daytona 500 that day. She had been working on a story about a house being built on city property. When news about Newman’s crash broke, Lama headed to Halifax Medical Center in hopes that he was headed there.

“I was initially just looking for signs that he was being treated there,” Lama said.

Newman indeed was transported to Halifax Medical Center for treatment and the live coverage followed.

At the end of the day, the power of social media helped Lama become one of the first reporters out in front of the coverage.

“Anything out there, you never know when it could get picked up,” Lama said. “It opened my eyes to how being proactive on social media can set you apart from other reporters.”

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