For early Chile earthquake coverage, BBC World Service uses Twitter as a primary source.

Posted: 27 Feb 2010   Print   Send a link
The National Public Radio newscast at 4:00 a.m. EST (0900 UTC) on 27 February included a BBC report about the earthquake in Chile: "There are no direct reports from Concepción yet, but someone in Chile has posted on the social network site Twitter that he had no lights, no electricity, and no internet, but that everything was well at home." Listen to audio excerpt. This would seem to be a manifestation of the directive to BBC journalists by Peter Horrocks, the new director of BBC Global News, to use the social media as a primary source. [See previous post.] Let's hope that tweet actually came from near Concepción and not from, say, Dubuque. Presumably the tweet was, as the BBC puts it, curated. If the twitterer had "no internet," then probably the message got through via texting on a mobile phone. Wouldn't the BBC correspondent in Chile have known contacts in or near Concepción that could also be reached via mobile?