August 30, 2005

IN PRAISE OF OLD MEDIA: I’ve watched the TV coverage today, and I think they’ve done a very good job; a story like this tends to bring out their best.

And you’ve got to admire the grit and determination of the Times Picayune, which isn’t letting the destruction of its city stop it from publishing:

The Times-Picayune was forced to evacuate our Howard Avenue newsroom Tuesday. We are setting up bureaus in Houma and in Baton Rouge to continue to provide coverage of this disaster. We will continue to publish the newspaper each day without interruption. We will make it available in PDF form on each morning around midnight.

Their web publication has also been excellent, and I suspect that quite a few newspapers will find themselves publishing this way, even without a hurricane, in the not-too-distant future. Likewise WWL TV which is still reporting (blog here, and streaming live video.

UPDATE: Reader Andrew Lee emails:

You should mention the radio broadcasters in the area too – I know the staff at WWL-AM (and their sister stations) have been trapped inside their building next to the Superdome for since Sunday night, and truly heroic measures were taken to get them back on the air after Katrina took them out. Imagine working on a 50,000 watt tower in chest deep water – dangerous! Right now they’re the only source of information for a lot of people in the area without power, television, or internet, and they really are performing like heroes.

What’s going to be interesting in the coming days is the cooperation between rivals in the radio business, as they combine their resources and available technologies to provide information – I predict they’ll be simulcasting on a lot of frequencies, owned by different companies soon.

Radio often gets overlooked, but it’s as vital and pervasive today as it has ever been… and there are still aspects of it that the satellite radio providers will never be able to compete with, despite all the hype.

Yes, and everyone should have a battery-powered radio in their disaster kit.

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