Online = big picture + small detail

Here’s an update on some of the online innovation we’ve seen coming out of the CA fire coverage. 

Mark Glaser’s MediaShift blog, which is hosted by PBS, has pulled together an online guide for people tracking fire coverage.

We’d like to create a comprehensive resource guide, listing all the places you can find coverage of the fires, with an emphasis on social and citizen media. MediaShift associate editor Jennifer Woodard Maderazo put together a large collection of links, and we are asking that you add to the list by sending along any other resources you’ve seen online in the comments below. We’ll update the list over the next week or so, and give you credit for any important sources you add.

The list is a treasure trove of information for anyone looking for coverage ideas and innovation online.

Last week, I noted how online media of the fires was providing immediate and incremental updates on the story, as well as a repository for information that is useful over time.

In her E-Media Tidbits column, Poynter’s Amy Gahran featured a list of interesting online efforts, including:

  • KPBS , the NPR affiliate in San Diego, offers updates on Twitter . This is probably the best use I’ve ever seen for Twitter. It’s simple to subscribe to get the updates by cell, or check them on the Web. Undoubtedly useful for evacuees whose only contact with the outside world right now might be their cell phones.
  • More from KPBS. The station has also put together a Google Map of the fire area that’s more sophisticated than what the LA Times offers . Note the variety of icons and information types, the highway and train closures, the burn area demarcation, and the map legend. (Click the yellow pin to see the legend.)
  • , a personal weblog started by a resident of San Marcos, Calif. (north of San Diego), features another kind of map — Google Earth overlaid with data from the U.S Forest Service and other sources.
  • Help in San Diego This assistance-oriented blog, very reminiscent of during Hurricane Katrina, was set up by the San Diego Union Tribune site SignOn San Diego . It’s just a simple Blogspot blog — which shows that if you don’t have the in-house tools to do something important online fast, don’t hesitate to use an available service. Tools should never limit your journalistic choices.
  • NowPublic’s “Emergencies” section is offering a steady stream of citizen journalism, photography, and other kinds of “crowd-powered news” from and about the affected regions. I found this inquiry under the “news wanted” section intriguing.
  • Flickr group, Southern California Fires 2007 currently has 169 members and over 1500 images . Not all of these photos are great, but there’s an amazing diversity of subject matter, communities, and views represented.

I posted a question to the E-Media Tidbits blog asking how to get started iwth using Google Maps.  Contributor William Crouch offered this explanation:   

Sign in with your Google Account, point your browser to and click on the “My Maps” tab. You can create and publish your own maps here with a variety of marker icons – I’m quite sure this is how KPBS and the LA Times made their respective maps, which also happen to be featured on the Google Maps homepage, right below the Search Results/My Maps tabs.

You can even push data to these customized maps through a Google Spreadsheet so you can update all of your data there:  

Thanks for the help!


One Response

  1. […] the past to send updates about breaking news stories like the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the California wildfires. Now the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is “twittering” in a slightly different way about a […]

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