Dallas Cowboys Practice Field Disaster – Citizen Reporting & Photos

I’m saddened to report that there was a terrible disaster in my neighborhood today – the Dallas Cowboys’ indoor practice field in Valley Ranch was hit by the strong winds in the violent Texas storm that blew through this afternoon, and the lightweight structure collapsed under the wind strain.

Firemen look over Dallas Cowboys Practice Facility Wreckage

It was just shortly after the storm passed that I was listening to the TV in my home with half an ear, relieved that my trees didn’t fall on my home, when I heard the news that the Dallas Cowboys’ facility collapsed. This place is just south of my home a few blocks, and I got really familiar with the location when my kid sister moved out of my house (she’s about half my age and lived with me when she started college in Irving) — she lived literally right across the street from the giant structure.

I call it a gym, but the place was really an indoor field — a large, inflated roof covered the whole thing, much like the roofs over some sports domes. I knew immediately that the storm must’ve really hit the roof hard, and finally gotten ahold of it and ripped it off, similar to how the Superdome roof was ripped off in New Orleans, back during Hurricane Katrina.

I’m an amateur photographer, and I couldn’t resist jumping straight outside to snap a few pics of the collapsed building.

Wreckage and Emergency Personnel - Dallas Cowboys

I speak at internet marketing conferences and write about optimizing websites for search, and one area I’ve often spoken upon is how to leverage photos to get links and to drive traffic to websites. There’ve been a number of occasions when journalists have contacted me, asking to use my photos to illustrate their stories, and I almost always allow them to do so for free, so long as they give me a link back in return. A link is the online, technical equivalent of a by-line or credit-line, and it’s only fair that I get credit for my work.

I’ve had bloggers often ask me how to promote their blogs, and this is an example of how to go about it. Most of us see or attend various news-worthy or interesting events in our lives, and it doesn’t take much to snap photos of them and provide them for others to use in return for a link back.

So, if you’re a journalist or blogger interested in writing on the Dallas Cowboys facility’s collapse, you’re welcome to use any of my photos – click on the ones in this story and they’ll take you to my Flickr account where you can find more, and you can see instructions on how to cite me as the photographer.

My heart goes out to the players who were injured today, and to their families. I really hope that everyone will be okay!

(* I’m right now weathering the second strong storm moving through the area – I sure hope my home and trees survive it, too!)

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