Friday, April 19, 2013

Twitter Covers Boston

Like most everyone else, I woke up this morning to hear (on NPR) what was happening in Boston -- one suspect dead, one on the loose, Boston in lockdown, SWAT teams everywhere.

Looking at Twitter for the night's timeline was enlightening about how it unfolded. I'm glad I went to bed when I did, because what good does it do you to follow these things minute by minute? We should all go read this piece from the Guardian called News Is Bad for You -- and Giving Up Reading It Will Make You Happier. And reading news, in my opinion, is not nearly as bad as watching it on television, when it comes to making you anxious.

So I found these couple of tweets from last night particularly interesting. People were complaining that the national/cable news channels weren't on the scene:

This was at midnight my time -- so 1 a.m. on the East Coast. And these jokers expected CNN and the networks to be ready with a crew in Cambridge at the drop of a hat. And they think that would be helpful to the police who are busy trying to catch a couple of guys tossing grenades out the window.

Why does everyone need to know what's going on just as it happens? It won't be accurate even if there is reporting. Don't you have a life?

The citizens who reported what they were seeing on their streets were a bit more informative, it appears, than any official reporter could have been.

Then there was this:

Which was a good reminder. And then this, from a few hours later:

Which shows that local news people were on this story. Lots of people were also following the Boston police scanners through a web-hosted stream. I wonder how long that will last, since it led to this:

One more day in the bizarre age we live in.

1 comment:

Gina said...

After watching NBC's coverage all morning, I'm surprised that there were complaints about the media NOT being there. I'm sure the police were quite happy they were NOT. And that civilians stayed away too.

Kerry Sanders, intrepid NBC reporter, WAS on scene during the shoot-out last night and had the footage to prove it, plus audio which was scarier than the visual. He described going back into the area where the shooting was after it had stopped and encountering police canvasing as he was -- they told him to get the H out, he was in danger. On the way out, he encountered a woman who'd been closer to the shooting and he began interviewing her. The police saw them and told them they needed to move out of the area. This morning, the police kept moving Sanders and his crew back from what was happening.

Sanders and other reporters risking their lives do so because of public demand for the "live" feed, to feel like they are there with them. As important as this story is, there will be hours upon hours when nothing happens. I kept thinking, if the younger brother had escaped driving a car, why did the police think he was still in the area? I thought he'd be long gone.

In fact, I was shocked that they were both still in the Boston area and not on a beach somewhere in a country without an extradition treaty with the U.S.