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January 15 2010


How the web covered the Haitian earthquake

Here is a great roundup of the online coverage of the earthquake in Haiti from Robert Hernandez and Mark Luckie.

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Haiti: A case study in real time news

Sky News journalist Emily Purser describes how the early coverage of Haiti unfolded using Twitter, Facebook and Skype..

Throughout the night, we spoke to people through whichever platform they had access to – Skype, Twitter, Facebook- and collated a sound idea of what was happening right now. The necessity of using the internet because the phones were down forced all traditional news gathering to the side, and meant we relied entirely on the web. Sky was first with the information because we turned to the people there and relied on them to tell the story – and for that they are owed huge thanks.

The earthquake was a tragedy of the greatest proportions and our hearts and minds are with those suffering. But amidst the horror, last night was a triumph in web 2.0 journalism and communications; it proved that the internet allows us to share information across the globe, regardless of the scene.There is now no excuse for not being up-to-date, all of the time.

January 14 2010


Destruction in Haiti interactive

This feature from nytimes.com lets users zoom in on the images and examine up close some of the damage caused by the earthquake in Haiti. Simple but smart idea.


Social media key in Haiti earthquake coverage

Technology played a key role in early coverage of the earthquake in Haiti.

Global Voices reported:

Twitter emerged as the fastest, most time sensitive vehicle through which to report on the catastrophe; Facebook was also full of wall comments on the disaster, from both French and English-speaking Caribbean netizens….Regional bloggers soon followed with more detailed posts, the most compelling of course, coming from within the island.

PC Magazine reports:

With telephone service toppled due to the earthquake, those on the ground turned to Skype to speak with the media, aid organizations, or to communicate with loved ones overseas. A Connecticut-based missionary organization that works in Haiti used Skype to communicate with their people there to get a sense of the devastation….

What’s not clear, however, is whether Haitians are using these technologies to communicate and help each other. From what I’ve seen so far, the use of tools like Twitter and Facebook are more helpful for delivering news about Haiti to the outside world instead of aiding those directly affected by the crisis–a recurring theme that we’ve already seen play out in places like Iran and India.

CJR says:

The world owes a measure of debt to new media platforms—which will undoubtedly continue to play an important role in Haiti in the days and months to come—for their assistance in facilitating the early response to this disaster.

WebNewser sums up some of the other ways media covered the quake online.

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