November 16 2008

Mainstream American News Sites Drag Their Feet Reporting On A Major Earthquake

1 hour and 8 minutes since a magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit Indonesia, and I can find ONE American news site reporting it.

While monitoring my Twitter feed today, I learned of an enormous earthquake hitting Indonesia via my boss at Mashable, Pete Cashmore.  Mr. Cashmore lives in Scotland, by the way.  So I am receiving news of a major world event via Twitter… from a man living in Scotland.

Okay, fine, but what did the major news sites in the USA show?  (please note that the following links take you to huge screenshots of the news sites named at the time I was looking)  Well, CNN was talking about if GM was worth saving.  Over at MSNBC, they were talking troops in Iraq, and just as I took the screenshot, they did add something up in their “Breaking News” banner.  Google News, which aggregates news from thousands of sites, had nothing on their main page at the time I visited it.  The only news site with something up when I first looked, a full 1 hour and 8 minutes after the event, was Fox News, and even at that, it was just a news blurb marked “URGENT” in red, while a story about Jones Town was the dominating story at the top of the page.  Because, really, the 30th anniversary of the Kool Aid drinkers is just that important.

I understand that it takes some time to report news, but a full 68 minutes after the event, and that’s all I could find?  Is Twitter the new news stream?  Will I have to rely on citizen journalism to get important news stories and links first?  It isn’t just me making some observations as you can see from the message Pete sent out on Twitter just a little while ago.

While I certainly would not say that this is the death of major news outlets, it certainly does not bode well for their future when a guy in Scotland is getting me news about Indonesia faster then they can.

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