Posted on November 28, 2008
Twitter, Mumbai, and 10 facts about journalism now
I think everyone knows that what’s happening in Mumbai is on Twitter, being updated live.
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch wrote about it on Wednesday, and he has a nice screenshot in the post to show you what it looked like then. Flickr and Wikipedia also provided frequent updates from the ground. Arrington didn’t mention Global Voices, which put together a good package on the attacks based largely on blogs. The Big Picture has the best news photos.
The example of Mumbai reinforces a few things I am always telling journalists about our online future:
- Breaking news will be online before it’s on television.
- Breaking news — especially disasters and attacks in the middle of a city — will be covered first by non-journalists.
- The non-journalists will continue providing new information even after the trained journalists arrive on the scene.
- Cell phones will be the primary reporting tool at first, and possibly for hours.
- Cell phones that can use a wireless Internet connection in addition to a cellular phone network are a more versatile reporting tool than a phone alone.
- Still photos, transmitted by citizens on the ground, will tell more than most videos.
- The right video will get so many views, your servers might crash (I’m not aware of this happening with any videos from Mumbai).
- Live streaming video becomes a user magnet during a crisis. (CNN.com Live: 1.4 million views as of 11:30 a.m. EST today, according to Beet.tv.)
- Your print reporters need to know how to dictate over the phone. If they can get a line to the newsroom, it might be necessary.
- Your Web team must be prepared for this kind of crisis reporting.
In addition, we might discuss whether the mainstream media are superfluous in these situations — or can they perform a useful service to the public by sifting and filtering the incoming reports from the center of the events?