In the past few weeks, I’ve been reading and learing about how blogs have become essential in breaking news stories and in political candidates’ campaigns, but I never really considered the real effect blogs could have until I read “NOLA.com blogs and forums help save lives after Katrina” on ojr.org.
Basically, the title of the article says it all. It’s an interview between Mark Glaser and Jon Donley–editor of the New Orleans Times-Picayune online counterpart, NOLA.com editor. In the interview they discuss how during the aftermath of Katrina, it was impossible to publish, print or distribute the newspaper because the resources weren’t availaable. Instead, they turned to the website and that “became the source for news on hurricane damage and recovery efforts — including updates from various reporters on the ground and even full columns and news stories.” Along with news stories, calls for help were also sent in via friends and families of those in need of rescuing who received the messages in the form of text messages on the cell phones. The blog is still a part of the website and although it was up for awhile before Katrina hit (to cover breaking news), there probably hasn’t been any other online forum that has saved lives like this one has. It really makes you stop and think about the power of technology.
I thought that this was not only a very creative way of distributing news, but it was also a brilliant example of how beneficial thinking outside of the box can be. Before, when I thought about blogs, I used to think of people journalizing about their lives and ranting or raving about celebrity gossip. I never really considered how far reaching this technology could be and how–if used effectively–it really can change lives.
1. In what other ways thatn this can blogging be as effective in touching so many lives?
2. How different do you think the aftermath of Katrina would be without the presence of NOLA.com?