big impact- Hurricane stories on the Web
As hurricane Katrina tore across the US Gulf cost, leaving snapped communications in its wake, Internet web logs offered a unique and often dramatic insight of the storm’s destructive fury and aftermath.
With the mainstream media struggling with the logistics of covering the story, the blogs came into their own, providing gripping first-hand accounts from someone riding out the hurricane, posting updates on the flooding situation and helping put people in touch with stranded relatives.
TV stations like CBS affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans, which was forced to evacuate its studios due to rising waters, turned to its own blog to offer a continuous stream of bulletin updates.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper joined reporters and editors from NOLA.com, an affiliated website, to produce stories and blogs about the storm.
NOLA.com editor Jon Donley had offered dramatic eyewitness reports of the storm unleashing its fury on New Orleans the day before.
“New Orleans is sinking… I don’t want to swim,” Donley posted as he looked out to see “water, appears about knee deep, and whipped by the steady wind into whitecaps and breaker.”
Kaye Trammel, an assistant professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge received responses from around the world to the dispatches she posted on her site “Kaye’s Hurricane Katrina Blog”.
“The winds continue to swirl around me in my apartment. Reminds me of sound of a tornado,” Trammel posted on Aug 29 as the storm hit.
Another live eyewitness account of the storm’s impact came from John Strain, a social worker in Covington, Louisiana.
“The wind is really picking up now and I hear the roof above me wobble.” Strain wrote in his blog. “The sound is like waterfall of rushing river. It is powerful noise. It is a noise that reminds me how small I am and how big god is.”
A list of most requested search words on Technorati.com
, a San Francisco-based search engine that tracks more than 16 million blogs on the worldwide web, showed searches related to the storm occupying the top five spots.A search under “Hurricane Katrina” offered links to more than 16.000 posting.