Mumbai: Breaking News…

… but not on Heritage Media.TweetGrid video (click HIGH DEFINITION on YouTube site if you want to read words clearly) First. The bombings in Mumbai are shocking. Loss of life, fear, a tragedy being played out live is not Entertainment. CNN seems to be covering the hotel damage more than the people lost but to…

… but not on Heritage Media.

TweetGrid video (click HIGH DEFINITION on YouTube site if you want to read words clearly)

First. The bombings in Mumbai are shocking. Loss of life, fear, a tragedy being played out live is not Entertainment. CNN seems to be covering the hotel damage more than the people lost but to be fair, it’s a visual medium and buildings burning show more than statistics in a broadcast medium.

Twitterers are all over it. People are videoing in the streets, taking photos, reporting back to their social networks. CNN coverage is simply not up to scratch, nor is Australian TV. Channel 7 Morning Show had a – bizarrely – ‘people no longer focus on things’ Shrinking Attention segment. While we were focussed on the other side of the world, for 7 hours, they were complaining about our lack of attention span. To heritage media. Irony anyone?

Live-blogging bloggers – from UltraBrown in Mumbai

I can’t believe this is my city. I can’t believe I just passed Ramada hotel ten minutes ago and didn’t realise that the little crowd near the gates would end up being a gunfire battle. I can’t believe the Taj hotel is burning. They’ve got hostages in there. More than half are American and British hostages. It’s 1.21am. There’s been a new explosion at the Taj. A friend of mine is in there. His wine glass had a bullet go through it. He said he was being evacuated to the 18th floor except that’s where they apparently took hostages. We can’t get through to his phone. A friend’s sister escaped just as the shooting began. Some of the terrorists have escaped in a police van. Charming.

All this is, however, entirely fitting as fireworks for the premiere of a film centred around the legend that is George Bush.

UPDATE: Gun battles are “ongoing” and there are about 250 injured.

Not anything a journalist would write, but compelling nonetheless. Disappointly UltraBrown doesn’t have an ABOUT page, so no clue if she is a regular writer or not.

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Google Map mashup

Police say some armed men have attacked seven or eight places across Mumbai with guns and grenades, killing up to 80 people.

Help Al Jazeera English track the attack points.

Vinu has a live Flickr photograph stream

The power of Heritage media is not the News. We can report the News just fine thanks. It’s not the distribution channel, we can filter and pass on content much better. The power of Heritage media is the Audience – and we are leaving in droves.

Is this the tipping point? The moment when We Media claims News creation and distribution? Well, breaking News anyway? I don’t think there won’t be one tipping point. The assassination earlier this year, floods, tsunamis and earthquakes, Steve Irwin’s death have gradually migrated from heritage media to social media sites. But more people will be ‘tipped’ as they realise they found out about world breaking news on their social network first and television/radio second.

Let me leave you with the Twitterers:

thinkshiv: Twitter better source of real-time breaking information on Mumbai attacks – every other news source lagging #mumbai. Twitter 1 CNN 0 🙂

malbonster: it’s like the whole of the media just got replaced by Twitter #mumbai

dylan20: hashtags on twitter may be a kludge but for coverage of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, #mumbai beats CNN, BBC, etc

skap5: My appreciation for the power of twitter just went up by going to #mumbai Talk about real time info.

quirkyknitgirl: Finding Twitter more useful in following what’s happening in #mumbai than traditional news. Interesting to compare it with CNN.

mothergeek: twitter success covering live, real time, the mumbai bombing

samfarrow: Just started following @dina who is on the ground in Mumbai – seeing the real power of twitter for decentralised news production.

aeropolowoman: : Tweetdeck, you’ve earned your place as a robust twitter client for following world events (@tweetdeck). I’m talking about #mumbai

aeropolowoman: rt LaiStirland: CNN sucks, Twitter rocks for news on #Mumbai which has links to first hand accounts on blogs, This is the future of news.

ryant: Things I’ve learned from following the Mumbai news on Twitter: 1) the Twitter (or FriendFeed) live search stuff is awesome

ki_lo: Working in a mall means the Mumbai blows up and you find out from Twitter.

Marinalog: RT @pblackshaw: glued to Twitter streams on Mumbai attacks. BBC coverage very good, but Twitter feeds fill huge news gaps. Depressing. #mu

kauffmanr: worldwide twitter feed better than CNN or Huffpost for mumbai news:

sethgoldin: Everyone check #Mumbai for news; Twitter is superior to CNN.

ddelony: #mumbai I’m amazed at how Twitter reports are much faster than TV news.

nicprice: Grim news from Mumbai. Heard via Twitter first, then radio, then TV.

The first Tweet, breaking the news of the Mumbai bombings. From Gsik. Thereafter, 8 tweets per second.(smyrnagal) That number can only increase as the ripple effect takes hold. By the way, Google News is showing breaking news from traditional media some 3 hour after Twitter. Which doesn’t make sense. If you know the first mainstream media article/news can you let me know please? 🙂

EDIT: Just saw what I think is the crux of the weakness of current free-to-air TV coverage.
so of course I tweeted it. 🙂

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  1. and…the power of social media only strengthens through this post. Surely Laurel, this is the first media analysis of the event, while it is still currently ongoing news. The medium allows coverage to be assessed as it is taking place.

    and…how did i find this post, via twitter.

  2. Before we ‘social media types’ get all high-n-mighty about the MSM gorilla, step back and take a peek in the mirror. Tis not all beer n skittles. These horrible events tend to bring out both the best and worst in all of us and I’m seeing plenty of the latter.

    Appreciate your analysis, keep it balanced. I’ll tag some stuff I see so you can take a peek and assess for yourself.


  3. I hadn’t though of that. *thoughtful* 35 people still in a room. News still breaking. I’m blogging about the impact on media. And currently on TV – golf, cooking and fashion. ABC is covering Mumbai. Seven has upped their advertisements (more eyeballs) but don’t have more content.

  4. @Mike *shrugs* I am focussing on how slow/inadequate the mainstream channel is compared to UGC channel. That we find out news and discuss it (with variable value systems) online, not over a newspaper or in front of the telly/radio.

    If you want to wave the “loser generated content” and “social media is destroying our cultures” banner, so be it. S’not what this blog post is about though 🙂

    For the record, I’ve never take a “social media is the answer, what was your question?” stance. Just doing some analysis and observation here guys 🙂

    Twitter breaks the news, but follow up with Wikipedia and other sites for distilled facts. And while Mike is right, and there will be variable quality and responses to current events, taking an observational role on Twitter will give you a head start in understanding the pulse of the always switched on club.

  5. CNN news coverage is actually focusing on information coming from blogs, Twitter and Flickr. They are advising viewers about what people to follow on Twitter to get the most up to date information, plus where to read the latest blog posts and see photos on Flickr.

    Have to give them credit for trying to combine heritage media with new media to provide the most up to date information.

  6. interesting post, thanks

    Twitter was a big part of my own experience following today’s sad events but i’d be curious what your view is on the reporting in the days that follow. as well as tracking twitter, flickr and various blogs, i will be looking to a range of news organisations for ongoing reporting and analysis of the aftermath. ‘we’ can (and do) play an important role (or roles) but i’m not sure i agree with the statement that ‘we can report the News just fine’.

    lots of food for thought.

  7. One of the things I’m noticing is the prevalence of calling this an Anti West or Anti American attack. Came initially from CNN but has been picked up by Citizen Media as well. They ignore the Police Commissioner, Minister of Parliament and other Indian pollies killed and go straight for the “show us your Brit/US passport” stories.

    *curious* why can’t we report the News as well? We’ve had 3 years on the job training now. (or more) 🙂

  8. twitter is a live, living window into peoples lives, it is a fait accompli that it will win over traditional media. the tool might change a little but the sharing streams into them will win over media.

  9. If you look at the log, you will see that the first tweet from the ground (@krazyfrog) is only 1 minute before people start re-tweeting what they are reading in the news.

    The strength of Social Media in the avalanche that follows is the hyper-connection of information from many disparate sources, not all necessarily on-the-ground.

    Like people once watched CNN, MSNBC, FOX (cable tv news) to get info — now twitter/flickr is replacing them for quick snippets of info either on-the-ground or more likely, reporting from MSM reports into the Social Media space.

    I dont think the tools are quite ready for easy citizen journalism. Also, humans on the ground probably had too much to personal safety issues to deal with before reporting to the world.

    I have always wondered about those people who call into news stations in the midst of a crisis.

    For the future, we have to have a “citizen journalism survival training” : keeping safe and reporting to help others keep safe.

    Lots of @fang like random thoughts


  10. Thanks guys, I wrote that while things were still going on. And I couldn’t get any real news from Australian MSM during the day. Driving me mad. In review:

    As someone who doesn’t have Cable TV I can – hand on heart – swear that I learnt nothing about #Mumbai from Australian MSM.

    I relied totally on Twitter. Not because I wanted to, but because TV wouldn’t interrupt Kerri Anne Kennerly or children’s morning TV with real news.

    Twitter filtered to me websites, and tidbits I couldn’t get elsewhere. ALL news was broken to me by Twitter and the links they sent.

    In amongst retweeting MSM were the REAL stories. Someone hearing the bombing while lying bed. Someone else driving past a hotel as it was attacked. A guy worried about his friend. I realised this: who on earth ever said that social commentary is not News? O.o

    For me, MSM doesn’t make the news, they simply report OUR stories. Just another filter. After people-in-crisis are interviewed on CNN India (I watched online, thanks to link sent by Twitter) they tell a friend, who puts it on Facebook or Twitter or MySpace. More links to real stories.

    Australian Media is dead. It failed to meet my needs (I channel hopped from 9:30am until about 4pm hoping for new News) and by the time the 6 O’clock News came on, MSM was simply retweeting what I had already seen and heard through Twitter links.

    Remember MSM don’t make content – we, the public, do – they are a channel. Media/Medium does not mean content it means channel/s. And as such, Australian Heritage Media FAIL.

    Don’t believe me? Search twitter for the journo’s asking for contacts – our social network – to interview for MSM. I saw at least THREE. If you didn’t, boys and girls, it’s time to broaden your social network outside of geeky Sydney echo chamber. Oh ok, maybe that’s harsh – not everyone wants a couple of thousand followers – and I kinda knew to look for it.

    Oh and I have QIK on a hot button on my phone. Just in case I stick my head out one day, into something interesting. Shall film it first THEN ring @NickHodge to come and rescue me. 😛

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