For more than a week I have been blogging Hurricane Katrina. The blog has been linked to by many other blogs & received a fair amount of media coverage – including articles in the New York Times & USA Today.
The best attempt I could do to sum up my experiences as an “emergency” or “crisis” blogger was published in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Saturday:
These blogs no longer belong to the blogger but to the community, as a centralized mechanism for communication and comfort in the face of natural disaster. They amend the coverage in several ways.
First, they are an alternative viewpoint from which one can learn about the situation. Turn on the news and see reporters pelted by the storm. Open newspapers to find pictures of Katrina. Or get direct access to a living room inside the storm and live through it by reading a blogger’s account.
Second, bloggers cover a larger geographical area, reporting more quickly than journalists. Imagine TV news without the set-up time and news production process: That’s how quickly bloggers can disseminate information.