Steelers fans are buzzing about the retirement of tight end Heath Miller. The popular player was the team’s first-round draft pick out of the University of Virginia in 2005, and he has spent his entire NFL career in Pittsburgh.
The hashtag #ThankYouHEEEATH is packed with messages of support from adoring fans. Teammates and coaches are paying tribute to Miller as a player and a friend.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he cried at the news, and shared his sadness over his friend’s retirement:
“I told him today in a joking way that he was selfish for not allowing the fans to know,” Roethlisberger said. “They should have known they were yelling ‘Heeee-ath!’ one final time. They should have known when it was going to be his final game at Heinz Field. They should have known when they were seeing him catch his final pass or his final touchdown pass.
“They deserved that because he was such a great Steeler. But that’s not him. That’s never been him. It was never about that stuff. In an era when a lot of players are so selfish, it was never about him. He’s one of the last of a dying breed. It was always about his teammates and the team. That’s what made him so special. That’s why I say he’s the most unselfish player I’ve ever known.”
The Post-Gazette is paying tribute to Miller in its own special way. The paper has a rich media archive, and put together a slideshow of photos chronicling his career. The gallery covers his high school days at Honaker High School in Virginia, his time on the field at UVA, and his 11 year journey with the Steelers, from his first press conference with the team to a touchdown celebration with Roethlisberger in 2014. The photos are sure to delight fans who have been cheering “HEEEATH” since 2005.
The Post-Gazette regularly leverages its photo archive for the column “The Digs,” where reporters dive into the archive and write stories about interesting photos from the past. But the Heath Miller story shows how the archive can have an impact in breaking news situations. The paper embedded the slideshow in its initial coverage of Miller’s retirement as soon as the news broke on Friday afternoon.
The news team was able to find the snapshots of Miller’s career quickly by searching its visual media library hosted by Libris by PhotoShelter. No matter what system your organization uses to manage your photos and videos, it’s important to make sure you’re keeping an organized library that allows you to find what you need quickly and easily when the time comes. The Post-Gazette team was able to run a quick search for “Heath Miller” and pull up all the photos tagged with his name as soon as they heard the announcement. Then, they were able to add the photos they wanted to use to a gallery called, “Heath Miller’s career” and embed the gallery as a slideshow in their coverage. The Post-Gazette team was able to do all of this in just a few minutes, which allowed them to keep up with the speed of breaking news and social media.
This story highlights the importance of keeping a photo archive that allows you quick, easy access to your visual assets. When your organization is celebrating a big moment, you need to be able to pull from a trove of images that will capitalize on the collective nostalgia of your fans. Having an organized, easily searchable visual media library will empower you to give your fans a walk down memory lane and pay tribute to someone who has made a huge impact on your organization through visual storytelling.
Cover photo by Peter Diana, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.