Haitian National Television reporter Richardson Jordan told The Associated Press that the driver, an off-duty police officer with the prisons department, tried to rush past men armed with pistols, machetes and a homemade gun.
Jordan said the men opened fire and killed the driver with a shot to the head. The bus flipped, injuring one of the journalists, and the bandits rushed in to take money and a laptop computer.
In a special report to its biannual meeting, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has described the state of the Haitian media two months on from the country’s devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake. What remains of the industry has been severely damaged in its ability to bring in revenue, pay staff, and establish communication lines.
The earthquake damaged or destroyed many media office buildings as well as broadcasting equipment, printing presses and computers. And by shutting down so many businesses that bought advertisements, the quake undermined the financial foundations of the industry. Some airlines and wireless companies continue to advertise, and some aid organizations have bought public service announcements. But many other businesses that used to buy airtime or print space will take months or years to rebuild, and that could translate into a prolonged nosedive in ad revenue for the industry.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has an update on Haiti’s only newspaper published entirely in Creole, Bon Nouvel, which had its offices and printing unit destroyed by the earthquake on 12 January.
Dr Sanjay Gupta is CNN’s chief medical correspondent, but also a practising neurosurgeon. This means that during CNN’s coverage of the Haitian earthquake and its aftermath Gupta has been reporting from the field, but also filmed performing surgery and working in an emergency medical clinic.
Today’s Connect the World show on CNN will explore the issues this raises from whether journalists can/should be part of a story to whether Gupta can carry out his role as a doctor and a journalist at the same time without undermining either position. The show airs at 9pm (GMT).
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports: “A month after the January 12 earthquake, the death toll for journalists has risen to 26, with two others injured, according to a new provisional tally released by media groups in Haiti.”
Willison, who was the lead developer for the Guardian’s crowd-sourced MPs’ expenses projects, talked about the ups and downs of user-driven information gathering; and about his latest collaborative launch, Wildlifenearyou.com, a project that collects users’ animal photographs for an online wildlife mapping project. Users can rank and identify photographs, building their site profiles. The feature allowing users to pick their favourite picture of two (for example, what’s your favourite meerkat?), accumulated more than 5,000 votes within a few hours.
As Laura notes, a specific version of Wildlifenearyou.com, Owlsnearyou.com launched just a few weeks ago. Getting the site some extra coverage, Owlsnearyou cannily “piggybacked” on the Superbowl hashtag on Twitter by creating “Superb Owl Day”… Geddit?
Willison also told the group about OpenStreetMap, the first free, wiki-style, editable map of the whole world. He said that the project has become adept at responding to crises.
OpenStreetMap was given some high resolution photographs of Haiti, when the earthquake occurred, and the team traced them to create the best digital map of Haiti available. It has become the default map for rescue teams, Willison added.
A week on since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, how are news websites covering the story? What tools are being used and how are media organisations helping those affected with information on top of news for a wider audience?
Here’s a selection of sites that have made the most of multimedia tools to break and roll reports of the crisis. Please add your own examples in the comment space below or email Journalism.co.uk.
Unsurprisingly, the earthquake took out all the landline and mobile phone lines in Haiti immediately. This obviously disabled the country spectacularly – as well as the pressing issue of not being able to speak to each other, it meant that Haitians were not able to speak to the rest of the world. As a result, the classic ways of gathering information for a rolling news channel – call everyone we know and find out what’s happening – were redundant. We had a map, and that was it.
Twitter, Google Chat, Skype and Facebook were used to contact sources and conduct interviews; while YouTube and searches of TwitPic provided on-the-ground footage. These tools were being picked up by the entire newsroom, Purser tells us, not just the online team. What’s more the geography of the newsroom (the online desk is right next to the studio floor, for example) helped grow the story across platforms, she adds.
Macguire describes how some of the first video footage of the disaster was sent back to London by a Reuters’ videographer thanks to a “friendly embassy” in Port au Prince with an internet connection.
Helping to find the missing
Online news coverage and multimedia from Haiti has been used to locate missing persons by relatives. CNN in particular is using its citizen journalism site iReport to help connect people with family, friends and loved ones in Haiti.
An ‘assignment’ on the iReport site asks users to submit photos of missing people, including their last name, first name, age, city and any other significant details. So far, 6,753 iReports have been sent in for this assignment.
“We are also in the process of integrating incoming e-mails, phone calls to CNN and tweets to the #haitimissing hashtag,” a CNN spokesman said – helping individuals conduct a wider search for information about missing loved ones.
“Since the earthquake hit, the Impact Your World page has had an increase of 7,545 per cent in page views over the previous week. The site lists opportunities to donate via phone, text and website, with special sections devoted to texting and international currencies.”
Social media coverage and real-time tools Digiphile blog has a great round-up of this, but Twitter lists have been used extensively by news organisations to group together twitters and correspondents on-the-ground in Haiti.
Elsewhere the New York Times is bolstering its main news channel coverage of Haiti by using its The Lede blog to provide rolling coverage. The blog is updating with links to reports from other news sources as well as the Times’ own coverage and has posts filed under different days stretching back to when the earthquake occurred. The aggregation of multimedia reports on the disaster available on the site’s homepage has been replicated through a Facebook page posting updates on the situation in Haiti.
In a city without electricity, with no functioning newspapers, no TV signals, no telephone lines, and cellular service so spotty that it is hardly service at all, radio stations in Haiti have become the lifeline of news about the living and dead.
(…) The station operates on two diesel generators and owner Mario Vian’s promise not to stop.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is to set up a centre of operations for Haitian journalists in Port-au-Prince with the aim of enabling them “to cover the situation and thereby assist the process of providing assistance to the population”.
[T]he centre will be equipped with laptops, mobile phones and generators provided by the leading Canadian media group Quebecor, Reporters Without Borders’ partner in this initiative.
The creation of this centre of operations will be followed by reconstruction assistance – again in partnership with Quebecor – for Haiti’s media, which are virtually all currently unable to function. This will be one of the targets of the donations raised by the appeal already issued by Reporters Without Borders.