Tag Archives: location

After the blogging storm

The winds have slowed down to a tropical storm, but the Gustav blogging continues.

The mainstream media is reporting on the blogging phenomenon as well as the actual hurricane: the Chicago Tribune looks at the decision-making power of blogs and FollowTheMedia comments that the hurricane may stop print, but not the web.

Meanwhile, over at Poynter, NPR’s Andy Carvin examines the role of social media in Gustav coverage.

As we posted yesterday, this was one for the Twitterers and they tweet on as people assess the damage. A quick twitter local search shows how the twitterers regard the media professionals… The complete mobile version, on the other hand, gives you a full package of the Nairabet desktop site on your mobile phone, including online casino games

Twitter comment

Pictures can be found easily on this Flickr search and over at gustavbloggers.com they reflect that it wasn’t as bad as they feared. Meanwhile, to prepare for reportage of the next natural disaster, the Blog Herald offers its disaster blogging tips.

Hurricane Gustav hits online media

Hurricane Gustav, which according to Breaking News Twitter reached the coast of Louisiana at 11.19am (BST) today, is being avidly blogged, twittered and mapped by US news organisations online.

The Houston Chronicle has set up a special section of its site – Hurricane Central – to cover the storm, featuring live radar maps of its progress, forecasts of the storm’s path and related news stories.

The Chronicle has also created a guide for readers on how to prepare for the hurricane when it hits.

Kansas City’s KCTV5.com is mapping Gustav with its interactive Hurricane Tracker, which allows users to compare and contrast past storms in the US.

KCTV5 is also streaming live footage from cameras located on the US coast.

Elsewhere intern with the Knox News Sentinel, Willow Nero, is blogging from New Orleans’ airport as she tries to catch a flight to Paris (thanks to Jack Lail for the tip);

A quick search for New Orleans on Twitter Local shows a wealth of residents using the microblogging service to update on their evacuation or as they sit out the storm.

Mark Mayhew, twittering from 932 Bourbon St, New Orleans, is using the service to update followers from the ground:

Weberence has created a round-up of twitterers affected by the hurricane giving a highly personalised account of the storm; while a Twitter account set up as the American Red Cross is giving followers up-to-the-minute details of evacuation procedures and safety information.

Chinese citizen journalist Zhou ‘Zuola’ Shuguang twitters his detention

Chinese citizen journalist Zhou ‘Zuola’ Shuguang has used microblogging service Twitter as he was detained by officials, Global Voices Online (GVO) has reported.

Zuola, who has used his blog to publish his own investigations into incidents such as the recent Chinese earthquake and the cover-up of a teenager’s murder, recently purchased a Blackberry and has been sending updates with the device to the Twitterberry service.

According to translations of his tweets by GVO, Zuola was forced to leave his parents house in a car by officials from the Meitanba Mining Group:

Zuola has since reported that he is under ‘town arrest’ and cannot leave the town of Meitanba:

News tracker helps uncover cit-j story in earthquake aftermath

Behind the reported events of last week’s earthquake in China, a story of a citizen journalism was emerging.

Ronen Medzini, an Israeli student, affected by the earthquake in the Chengdu area was quoted by the Associated Press on the crisis in the area.

Medzini’s role in reporting the disaster, which was quickly picked up by other mainstream media, was in itself newsworthy – he reported the devastation around him in a text message sent to the AP, a citizen journalist breaking news on a mobile.

But how to detect this thread within the mass of reporting? Ian Cairns from Managing News, has blogged about how the system, which tracks and analyses mainstream and social media sources, did just this.

What is particularly interesting – and crucial – about how Managing News worked in this situation, is the collaboration between two of its features: a map displaying geotagged news items on a topic (in this case breaking news) and a tag cloud.

Investigating the tag cloud next to the map of news coverage of the earthquake, tags for both ‘Ronen Medzini’ and ‘cellular’ showed up, as such highlighting the cit-j element of the story which would otherwise have been buried.

Interesting how the visual representation of news trends, in this case, allowed the observer to quickly pick up on new leads in the reporting.

Online Journalism China: shortcomings in the earthquake relief effort going unnoticed in the scramble to present a front of national unity

As the catastrophe and media blackout in Burma continues, coverage of the Wenchuan quake in China has taken centre stage.

While pictures and information on Burma are scarce, the international media has been given a free hand on the ground in Sichuan province, perhaps as natural disasters offer an unrivalled opportunity for the government to show itself in action.

Western media has produced some moving accounts of the tragedy as well as some more critical pieces on how the government has handled the rescue effort.

In the Guardian, Naomi Klein reports disgruntled parents lamenting the collapse of their children’s schools, and Tania Branigan quotes claims of corruption and misuse of funds.

Unsurprisingly, coverage here has primarily been on the rescue effort, the suffering and on Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao’s visits to quake-hit areas.

Domestic media has focused on the Party’s action plan and prominently featured press briefings detailing the government’s response, as well as making full use of photo opportunities for Party leaders.

Wen seems to have become the human face of the Party’s disaster relief efforts. He is visible in the same way that he was during the winter snow disaster; where he personally visited the gridlocked Guangzhou train station to address stranded spring festival travellers.

Thursday’s China Daily featured a picture of him holding two forlorn looking girls by the shoulder and quoted him as saying: “I am grandpa Wen Jiabao. You must hold on, child! You will be saved.”

China Daily has focused on the human cost and survivors’ tales, running capped-up front-page headlines “MAGICAL MOMENTS,” and RESCURERS RACE AGAINST TIME”.

Like the snow disaster, a lot of prominence is being given to donors’ generosity and volunteer rescue efforts (including those of foreigners on the ground) as China again attempts to present a united front.

However, the New York Times carries an excellent article asking why the government has accepted aid from Japan, Taiwan and Singapore but rejected offers from others.

Despite the huge mobilization of the army, the troops lack the necessary heavy lifting and drilling equipment to dig for survivors.

Such shortcomings seem to be going unnoticed amongst the scramble to present a front of national unity, and few here are asking why professionals from the West are being told to stay away.

According to China Media Project (CMP), critical coverage of the quake has apparently been banned by an edict discouraged by one of  numerous directives intended to stop the spread of malicious rumours stories that may show the authorities in a bad light.

However stories like this, on the poor structural integrity of the schools that have collapsed, seem to have passed unnoticed.

CMP also runs a translation of another editorial by Southern Metropolis Daily editor Chang Ping. Chang highlights the dubious nature of the law on spreading false rumours in the light of the public’s overwhelming demand for information regarding the quake.

The law has came to the fore after a number of false rumours also surfaced in chatrooms and forums alleging that the authorities had somehow been warned that the quake was coming but suppressed the information, it would have perhaps been easier to dispel some of these myths quickly if the ever present spector of the authroities didn’t loom large and automatically make people suspicious of any news that suggests underhand activity on their part.

It will be interesting to see if the commercial media will begin receiving pressure to avoid critical reporting in the coming days when fewer survivors turn up and locals face the grim task of moving the dead and contemplating rebuilding their towns and homes and lives.

That will be a time for much reflection – and a lot of reflection may lead to some touchy questions.

BBC dot.life blog: Twitter and the China earthquake

BBC Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones muses on Robert Scoble’s claim that Twitter broke the news of the earthquake in China quicker than United States Geological Survey, which provides early warnings of seismic events.

“Let’s see, as this story unfolds, whether this is the moment when Twitter comes of age as a platform which can bring faster coverage of a major news event than traditional media, while allowing participants and onlookers to share their experiences,” suggests Mr Cellan-Jones.

Photoshopped marathon pictures fool Sky News website

Journalism student Todd Nash’s new blog Journalism Today has flagged up some pictures from Sunday’s London Marathon sent to Sky News’ Your Photos section.

Only not every picture here tells the true story, rather the pics have been photoshopped and submitted by forum members of website Football365.com.

Some of the pictures are still available, including this appearance by the grim reaper:

Photo of London Marathon submitted by Daniel Carr to Sky News’ Your Photos

And another submitted by A. Lurker (clue: look closely at his vest):

Photo of London Marathon submitted by A. Lurker to Sky News’ Your Photos

The news site are likely to take the joke well: following an earthquake in the UK in February the site received so many spoof photos of quake damage, it created a separate archive for them.

Breaking news of the UK Earthquake online and off

News of an earthquake that struck the UK in the early hours of Wednesday morning caused a surge in traffic to Sky.com/news with more page impressions recorded on the site at 1am than 9am, the site’s executive producer Julian March writes on the Editors’ Blog.

A similar effect was experienced by the Nottingham Evening Post’s site, HoldtheFrontPage reports, after it posted news of the quake within 30 minutes.

The site saw 1,821 readers visit between 1am and 2am – increasing this to 6,000 by 9am, 20,000 page views and 60 comments on the story – though it’s a shame they appear to have only opened this feature from 6am.

Both great examples of why it’s crucial to break news online – whether a local or national title – and get ‘ownership’ of the story to keep drawing those viewers back.

The BBC’s online and radio coverage was hot on the heels of the incident, though the video below – courtesy of student journalism blogger Dave Lee – suggests their TV news had to play catch up.

(I like the idea of competitive news watching between channels)

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foD0YXHIknQ]

For disaster reporting – change your site template and turn on social media mode

The wildfires that are raging through California and have caused half-a-million people to be ordered from their homes have encouraged news providers to ditch their normal website formats and go into wholly innovative crisis-reporting mode.

Having a design format for breaking news that’s significantly different from the usual run of breaking news helps draw attention to the scale and importance of the story.

Cluttered websites like 10news.com and KNBC.com – Cory Bergman at Lost Remote points out – have failed to get over the magnitude of the events.

Adopting a unique layout for the home page – Corry adds – can also allow more content to surface:

“If you build a breaking news layout ahead of time, it’s not that much work to execute it when the story breaks. Just flick the switch. TV sites should own breaking news, and a flexible, content-driven design plays a big part.”

It’s something BBC News also does for big stories. It abandons the usual format of running a lead and to sub-lead stories, replacing them with a single large image to direct attention to a specific story.

Sites like the LA Times and MSNBC have adopted a similar approach for the fires. The Times has a photo gallery on its front page, along with links to its interactive maps, evacuation info and quick stats on the carnage the fires are causing.

Homepage design aside, devices for reporting the breaking news On The Fly have caused some news providers to ditch the usual tools and wing it with social media.

As we posted yesterday, radio station KPBS is using Twitter to do ‘Real-Time Updates’ on its website and to direct readers to local authority announcements, its Google Map of the fires, traffic updates and addresses for evacuation centres.

News 8, a CBS affiliate in San Diego, has even (thanks to Martin Stabe @ the Press Gazette for the point) taken down its normal website and replaced it with a rolling news blog, with links to YouTube videos and necessary/emergency information.

One of those uploaded videos is from journalist Larry Himmel, who reports on his own house being destroyed:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKGF2bbxQ6E]

Sky News claims 58 per cent traffic increase from last year

Sky News has claimed it recorded a 58% increase of traffic in July, from last year’s 3 million monthly unique users to 4.8 million this year, as a result of people looking at its reporting of the UK’s floods.

Sky claimed that features, such as an interactive map, gave key regional information on the flooded areas. Sky News’ web visitors also sent in more than a thousand flood pictures for its online galleries helping – says Sky – to build up a detailed, interactive picture of the unfolding news event.

According to the Murdoch owned site the amount of time users spent on the site increased by 15%. In total there were 16.5 million visits to the site last month, up 85% from 8.9 million visits recorded in July 2006.

On Monday 23 July the site claims to have received 7.5 million page impressions; the highest figures since the 7/7 London Bombings two years ago – still the site’s highest figures with 35 million page impressions (126.6 million for July 2005).

The Sky.com portal is ABCe audited, however, the figures are not broken down to give specific results for its news portal.