Natural Disasters

Media Earthquake

|


Doc Searls on following disaster news on portable devices:

The quake is coming to be called the 2011 Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami, and your best portable media to keep up with it are these:

1. Al Jazeera English, for continuous live TV coverage (interrupted by war coverage from Libya)
2. Twitter, for continuous brief reports and pointage to sources
3. Wikipedia, for a continuously updated static page called 2011 Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami, with links to authoritative sources

I just looked at ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, CBC and BBC online, and all have recorded reports. None have live coverage on the Net. They are, after all, TV networks; and all TV networks are prevented from broadcasting live on the Net, either by commercial arrangements with cable and satellite TV distributors, or by laws that exclude viewing from IP addresses outside of national boundaries….

NPR has the same problem. You don't get live radio from them. Still, you do get live radio from nearly all its member stations. Not true for TV. Lots of TV stations have iPhone, iPad and Android apps, but none feature live network video feeds, again because the networks don't want anything going "over the top" (of the cable system) through Net-connected devices. This is a dumb stance, in the long run, which gets much shorter with each major breaking news story.

Here's the take-away: emergencies such as wars and earthquakes demonstrate a simple and permanent fact of media life: that the Net is the new TV and the new radio, because it has subsumed both. It would be best for both TV and radio to normalize to the Net and quit protecting their old distribution systems.

Searls later updated his post to note that cnn.com has four live streams running, though viewing them can be "a bit of a kluge." His basic point still stands.