09 March 2011

Basic Citizen Journalism

Having studied Journalism back in the day, I appreciate the efforts of these people who have taken a local view of a citywide disaster.

They've collected information the way we used to, by talking to the people who know. They've then shared the information with those most concerned, locally.

All of our fancy technology and info gathering is only good if the power's on.

Check out Vicki Hyde's Musings on the Nature of Information Flow in a Disaster Situation

Here's an excerpt:

" ... The only real source of useful information for our area was gained by stopping people on the street and asking "what do you know?", then writing that down and sticking it to the whiteboard we'd lugged down the hill and duct-taped to a telephone pole.

We spent three days down there hooked up to a Telecom cellphone generator at the corner of the street, giving people a plugbox for their cellphones and getting some internet via a laptop and mobile phone hookup. The noticeboard continued to gain notices -- lost pets, the location of the neighbourhood water tanker (as it shifted on a daily basis), offers of help, where the nearest functioning supermarket was.

We got a bigger board and kept going, kept asking locals what they knew..."

Reminds me of how the Romans used to 'post' a letter at the crossroads for another traveller to carry onward.

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