Not the first tsunami to change the history of journalism: Steve Outings recent Poynter.org essay about the “tipping point” role of the December 2004 tsunami is a “must-read” to help understand the profound ways “citizens’ journalism” (of which blogging is a part) is changing the way news is captured, covered, conversed about and responded to. The essay made me recall the very first post I made about the tsunami, on December 26, related to how another tsumnami in the same region 120 years ago played a similar pivotal role in the history of the way “jouranlism” was altered by a newly “networked” globe.
Here’s what I said two weeks ago:
Coincidentally (and viewing today’s events, eerily so), I recently read Simon Winchester’s fascinating book, Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 about the volcano and resulting tsunamis that killed 36,000 in Indonesia. The event, Winchester points out in his book, was the first such natural disaster that happened after the world was fully “connected” by telegraph cables, therefore making it the first global news event followed by people worldwide in something similar to what today we’d call “real time.”
Quote from Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa:
“The eruption of Krakatoa was, indeed, the first true catastrophe in the world to take place after the establishment of a worldwide network of telegraph cables — a network that allowed news of disaster to be flashed around the planet in double-quick time. The implications of this rapid and near-ubiquitous spread of information were profound.”
The book is riviting (in light of current events), says my wife, who is about 2/3rds through it after I suggested a few days ago that she read it.
Side note: If you want to read a riviting account of what I believe to be a direct historical precedent to “wikis” and shared-knowledge, read the Winchester’s The Professor and the Mad Man.