The Garret Tree
Monday, May 18, 2009
  Photoblog Don Valley Brick Works
Photo blog for May 18, 2009.

Red winged blackbird at the Don Valley Brick Works.

Red winged blackbird at Don Valley Brick Works May 18, 2009

More photos from the Brick Works hike in my public Facebook album.

All images are copyright Robin Rowland 2009. Do not download or reuse without permission.

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  What "breaking news" means in May 2009

Around 8:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, May 17, 2009, an earthquake with a prelminary estimated magnitude of 5.0 struck near Los Angeles International Airport LAX. As this is written an hour later, at 0025 hours May 18 Eastern Daylight Time, the Los Angeles Fire Department reports no major structural damage or injuries.

Here is a lesson for all those news executives in our dying industry who insist on screaming about hours-old "breaking news."

This is a screengrab from Tweetdeck taken at 0017 hours EDT which shows Twitter trending topics, as measured by Tweetdeck. (Twitter's own trending topics are a little different, I've found but in this case the earthuquake is still a top topic). The top topic, of course, is the earthquake, aftershocks, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods where it the quake was felt.

Even the Los Angeles Times in its coverage is quoting the LA Fire Departments Twitter feed.

Updated at 9:10 p.m.: An initial assessment by the Los Angles Fire Department found "no major structural damage, no serious injuries," according to spokesman Brian Humphrey's Twitter feed.

In May 2009, news breaks on Twitter.

If you've got a red "breaking news" banner on your screen or web page even an hour later, rather than "developing story" you're crying wolf and further eroding the credibility of our already stricken profession.

More and more people on the cutting edge of online journalism and high tech coverage are calling for a return to quality (although no one is sure how to pay for it right now). "Citizen journalism" is no longer someone ranting on the comments section of any news site. It is hundreds of those citizens' tweets.

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I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

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Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

New blogs as of Sept. 2009
Robin's Weir
Tao of News

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    A River Kwai Story
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