Minneapolis Bridge Collapse: New Media Quickly Provide Information

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While the event itself is of course tragic, the Minneapolis bridge collapse has brought participative media (citizen media, like blogs and all) to the attention of the public once more.

A great example is Metroblogging Minneapolis who have great coverage not only of the event, but also of the way both traditional media and participative media deal with it. (I’ll just stick to this one example because it really shows many good aspects of the matter. But there are plenty more out there, of course. Saw anything that particularly fascinated you? Share in the comments!)

During the interviews for my masters thesis, one of the points most journalists brought up was that blogs aren’t particularly useful for political journalists exactly because they stick all too often to this meta level, where they rant about the relationship between old and new media. And now I’m praising it here? Well… Since this is an actual news event, yes, I think some reflection on the different approaches to news that old and new media take can be quite insightful:

UPDATE (12:08 P.M.) Charlie Gibson will also air his ABC World News Tonight newscast in Minneapolis tonight. Thought this was interesting: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and our local ABC, Fox and CBS affiliates are all still doing wall-to-wall bridge collapse coverage. Our local NBC affiliate switched over to the Today show right when it started — with a riveting interview with Matt Damon about his inability to rank in the People’s Sexiest Man title. I checked in a little later, and Martha Stewart was baking a pie. I guess we know where KARE-11 stands in priorities. UPDATE (1:44 PM) Received this animated gif from DC Metroblogging Author Paulo, trimmed and accelerated to remove the pauses. Unfortunately, it’s too large a file for Metroblogging to allow us to post it. Meanwhile, Aaron Landry, a noted local new media guru/junkie, has been interviewed by Fox News, Time, Pioneer Press, MSNBC, Wikinews, American Public Media, ENR.com and others today about his posting of Noah Kunin’s photos on Flickr and liveblogging from within the “danger zone.” Julio Ojeda-Zapata at the PiPress is also working on a story about how new media was in playing during and following the aftermath of the collapse.

Also note how other bloggers use the event both to promote their own interests (not so good) and to deal with it in a more humorous way (much better). DailyKos:

President Bush announced early Thursday that the United States would prevail in the newly launched “War on Gravity,” which the President intends to fight “anywhere and everywhere gravity may hide.” In response to the tragic collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis Wednesday evening, government agencies reacted quickly to formulate a response that would counteract gravity’s latest attacks against the vulnerable homeland.

So much for meta thoughts on media.

Update: There’s a good summary on the web coverage of the whole event at the Lost Remote TV blog (overview, on user-submitted images)

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Peter Bihr

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By Peter Bihr