What I found remarkable about the coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan was how quickly it was being covered. Sure the internet has made almost everything instantaneous but in this instance it was really incredible how fast videos were being uploaded and pictures shared within minutes. I think it’s obvious that the reason is because Japan is very high tech and wired.
But what was different about this disaster as opposed to some of the other conflicts we’re seeing in the Middle East is that Japan is about as 21st century as you can get and the this was really the first time the technology was tested on such a huge scale. What I mean by that is that it wasn’t a single point localized disaster, it really affected a huge portion of Japan.
I attended a conference last fall on disaster preparedness and they brought up the issue of emergency plans for communication if the worse happened and everything was knocked out. I think Japan passed the test in that people were lucky enough to still be able to use their cellphones for internet access once the initial panic died down. They were still wired in and it allowed friends and family to get a hold of their loved ones relatively quickly.
I also wanted to mention how impressed I was with YouTube and Japan’s News Station NHK getting a streaming video of their coverage up quickly. I wonder if this is going to become the norm for stations to just partner with YouTube to stream their stations rather than having people watch it on TV. As someone without a TV I’d be ready to embrace a 24 hours news channel solely online.