Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina's Media Waves

I'm hearing a lot of chatter about the power of blogs surrounding Katrina. They're offering us a terrifyingly close view of what is going on along the devastated Gulf Coast. I'm actually amazed at how information can still be distributed, considering that the infrastructure is nearly nonexistent.

But it's television that is truly flexing its muscle here. While blogs are offering us individual stories and helping reach out one person at a time, TV is making us aware of the breadth of the devastation.

TV reporters are practiced at this, they know how to frame the damage in a way that makes sense, they know about the helicopter shots and what questions to ask. It's a matter of experience.

I read many of the reports from all sorts of news organizations and blogs throughout the day, but it's when I get home at night and turn on CNN that the images drive home what is happening.

Part of that is perspective. People who live in an area know what is supposed to be there, so when they take a photograph it's not just of a damaged house, but of a house that is in their head. They don't just photograph damage, they photograph a memory. A journalist just in from Atlanta has no such memory and can help frame the picture in a way that makes more sense to those of us sitting in our living rooms on the other side of the continent.

My point is, these media work in concert, each complementing the other. Read the blogs, get the personal stories, but don't forget about TV.

No comments: