Archive for the ‘#9 Japan’ Category

Double Disasters strike Japan

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #9 Japan

When the calibre of disaster reaches that of Japan’s March 11th 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the only word that comes to mind is devastation. Mind you, I’m saying this as a detached westerner. While I have great empathy for the people who were faced with such tragedy, all I have are words. There is no way I could ever know what they feel unless I too were put in such a situation.

Unfortunately with disasters as complex as this one, it’s hard to make the public understand the background to the story – especially when things get complicated, and this disaster got complicated in a hurry.



Tsunami in Japan – Online Coverage

Posted: April 19, 2011 by Maria Acle in #9 Japan

When disasters like this occur, it is up to news organizations to step up their game and explain everything to the public. It is somehow difficult to have everyone on board when the issue includes radiation, nuclear plants and nuclear reactors. There are a lot of technical terms that need to be explained and in this can sometimes make it boring. It sounds rude to say that these catastrophes can be boring, but the truth is that when it comes to science, not many people will stay tuned.

However, many news organizations have managed to make this story very interactive and easy to understand on their websites. The thing with having this information in online websites is that the public can access the information as many times as they want, (more…)

The Hope Beneath 12,341* Radioactive Bodies

Posted: April 8, 2011 by Adam Hodnett in #9 Japan

*Death toll reported by on April 5, 2011. Over 15,000 missing. Is this title too heavy?

I feel guilty not following the crisis in Japan. I can’t imagine what those people are going through. Anything I picture seems like the most horrifying experience possible.

But, somehow earthquakes and tsunamis are beginning to feel common. Japan use to build houses out of paper because it’s an earthquake-prone island, and we have hundreds of nuclear power plants around the world, and a poor record handling fuels.

One of my problems with media is hearing too much negativity (I think it’s lazy reporting). I sometimes feel like I go a little crazy hearing about all the bad things in the world. I’ve decided that staying hopeful is more important than dwelling on things I can’t change. Does that make me self absorbed?


Covering a Disaster Digitally

Posted: March 31, 2011 by Mike Carter in #9 Japan

News organizations handle large amounts of information everyday that has arrived to them through a variety of sources. When large catastrophic events happen, such as the recent natural disasters in Japan, there is a brief moment when these varied sources turn their collective attention on the gripping event. (more…)

So, your telling me WHAT happened?!

Posted: March 30, 2011 by Elizabeth Sullivan in #9 Japan

Hideaki Akaiwa - Japanese Badass

Although I probably wasn’t the last person on earth to find out about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, it was still a little startling to find out about it the day after. I will also say that once I got a grip on what was happening, my focus wandered back to the massive amounts of homework that I’d neglected before the march break.

Here are some of the links and videos that I watched in my efforts to get informed – I did manage to listen to some CBC Radio broadcasts about it. One in particular that struck me was an interview segment with a ESL teacher in Japan. It was strange, I had been thinking about it, taking Japanese courses and everything, and now I have to think about whether or not Japan will be a  safe enough place to be within the next few years. My Japanese teacher also gave us the twitter and facebook accounts for two of her former students who are currently in Japan.


Japan – Muise

Posted: March 23, 2011 by lukemuise in #9 Japan

I’m not sure if I’m alone on this one or not, but I didn’t find out about the disaster in Japan through any kind of social media. I woke up, made coffee, and turned on the T.V. The disaster in Japan was dominating the airwaves, and I couldn’t look away. Of course, the internet was buzzing too; after watching the video news channels I decided it was high time to check out what the web was saying.

I was totally overwhelmed. Not by emotions, but by the sheer amount of information about the very recent disaster. There was so much I hardly knew where to start, but when I finally did I found it difficult to find any real consistent information. Such is the nature of disasters, it’s hard to say for sure how much death and damage actually occurred until weeks or months after, but a little consistency would have been appreciated at that point.

Then came the murmurs about the  potential for nuclear disaster. I went back to the Internet and had absolutely no idea what to think. Some places were saying that the Japanese people near the nuclear reactors were in imminent danger. Other places were saying it wasn’t a big deal, and some even said not to believe other sources because they were sensationalizing the danger. Ann Coulter even said on T.V that small amounts of radiation are good for you (I think that is a ridiculous statement, but I included it just to demonstrate the variance in reports).

It was only after a few days of reading internet reports that I finally saw something that was actually helpful. It was a video done by CNN that explained, in detail, the problem with the reactor. It even had an interview with one of the men who helped design the plant in question.

As far as coverage goes, the Internet had far more information than T.V news, but it was too varied. When I finally got some good information it came from a combination of the two, which works for me.


Oooh, something shiny?

Posted: March 23, 2011 by Sara Power in #9 Japan

I got my first introduction to the crisis in Japan by CBC Alerts sent from Twitter to my cellphone when I woke up one morning.

I was interning at the CBC that week, actually, and so I heard about it through the grapevine of the newsroom. On Friday of that week I sat on the couch in the back of the story meeting, staring at the tv screen and the coverage of the tsunami. I barely paid any attention to the rest of the meeting.

It was the pictures. Cars being tossed around like toys, houses being moved, the wave just wouldn’t slow down. (more…)


Posted: March 23, 2011 by shanefowler2 in #9 Japan

I heard about the Japan quake quickly after it had happened via Facebook. A friend publicly offered prayers to those people while simultaneously letting her friends know that something had happened. From there, I went to twitter to investigate. Searching #japan, led to me to (more…)

What about Libya?

Posted: March 23, 2011 by Alyssa Mosher in #9 Japan


I’m sure most people in our class couldn’t even imagine going through something like the disaster in Japan. When we see the images on the evening news, or scroll through the updates on our twitter feed, we can’t relate. Back in Grade 11 before I knew I wanted to be a journalist, I did an eight-minute documentary on natural (and not-so-natural) disasters and how they affect the people at the disaster site and elsewhere. The natural disaster I focused on was Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it left on the people of New Orleans. But then I brought it home. I interviewed different people in my grade about how we’re supposed to help those people out, what we’re supposed to do. And I reminded them of Swiss Air Flight 111. We were all only eight years old or so at the time, but that not-so-natural disaster still affected the community we lived in (near Peggy’s Cove where the plane went down only 12 kilometers off the coast).

When I look back at that piece of work – I can’t help but be a little proud – I wonder what would happen if I did it again now, after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and even the protests in the middle east. Are these type of incidents any more relatable? But I think the answer is now. Despite the constant coverage by different media outlets; despite the graphic images that pop up on our TV screen during the local evening news broadcast; and despite our new efforts to support these people who are faced with such tragedies, I think disasters are more unrelatable now than ever before. Times have changed and the news is even more immediate. 


Media Graph

Posted: March 23, 2011 by Alex Vietinghoff in #9 Japan


I decided to choose a few well-known news organizations,, and create a graph, that shows whether or not they use a certain type of social media or otherwise to deliver coverage.  I found that it seems to be necessary to use all types of media, because every news organization I checked uses every major type I came up with. 

 I’d like to ask the class to suggest one or two more News Outlets for the Graph, as well as one or two more forms of media I hadn’t thought of.

  I noticed that all these different coverages are pretty much the same story over and over, but presented from the different forms of media to appeal to a vast and diverse audience.

I think the most unique stories being told are the ones where a reporter has lots of time to make the best use of their selected media; print, television, radio, etc.  The features are the ones where I am completely wrapped up in what’s going on.  I appreciate completely  the usefulness of short news updates via twitter, but I’d personnally much rather be told a more personal story, or shown images that affect lives, rather than seeing a small amount of words trying do justice to amazing events.

Japan – Melissa Dickinson

Posted: March 23, 2011 by melissadickinson in #9 Japan

The morning of March 11th started out like any other. I woke up, promptly turned my cell phone on, and opened up my laptop to check emails, Facebook, etc. Upon opening my Twitter homepage, I saw the numerous tweets from a girl I went to high school with. Her Mom and Dad were currently in Japan (their hometown) and she was concerned for their safety. Shortly after I refreshed the page, her latest tweet brought good news of their departure only moments before the earthquake.

I think the majority of people discovered and learned about the crisis in Japan through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This is due to the fact that a great deal of society today is more tuned in to the ongoings, happenings and gossip of their friends, family and celebrities. In fact, I am currently watching Jay Leno and an interviewer asked an avid “spring breaker” what he thought about Gaddafi. The man assumed to be in his early 20s had no idea who he was. Goes to show that one has to have the interest, the initiative and the motivation to stay informed on the world.

I honestly think that it would be hard not to stay informed on this disaster in Japan. For days one just had to switch through the channels on the television to view the numerous stations headlining the earthquake and tsunami. People were posting prayers for Japan on their Facebook status’, Twitter fans were retweeting major news organizations their updates on the crisis, students on campus were constantly discussing how horrible the disaster was and how thankful they were to be living in Canada. That’s the thing about Journalism. It comes in many different forms like print, speech and video. It appeals to all audiences.

Everyday there are pictures posted online headlined as “The Most Unforgettable Pictures” of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I think that the use of pictures is the greatest way for audiences and people outside of Japan to fully grasp the idea of how horrible and heartbreaking this disaster truly is. Even still, unless you feel the pain of losing everything, it’s hard to relate to the people of Japan. Therefore, it’s the videos and pictures posted on news websites that I appreciate the most in gaining knowledge of this crisis.

The use of social networking sites allows audiences to understand the impact this disaster has had on society inside and outside of Japan. We get to experience and witness the heartache of Facebook and Twitter users in the middle of this disaster. Using the word experience is not really appropriate either. As I stated earlier, we will never be able to experience the pain the people of Japan are going through unless we are physically and emotionally connected in some way. However, we are able to comprehend and witness the pain that this disaster as brought to family, friends and the people of Japan. The pictures that are posted by news organizations allow us to experience the same understanding and emotions as the Facebook status’s and Twitter updates. We see the pain and agony, and as a result are easily persuaded through pictures to do all we can to help.

Hitting Close to Home

Posted: March 23, 2011 by stephaniekelly10 in #9 Japan

The Kanji for "Healing"

When I first heard of the earthquake in Japan, my first reaction wasn’t to check CBC News or the New York Times, it was to check Facebook. In my second year at St. Thomas, I spent four months studying in Japan’s most Northern province of Hokkaido. Naturally, my first concern was whether the city I lived in (Sapporo) was affected. I quickly scanned the profiles of Japanese students I met at my university. They were covered with frantic messages from friends and family members who wanted to know if they were safe. Fortunately, Hokkaido was spared of any serious damage, as it was several hundred kilometers from the epicentre and everyone I knew remained safe and healthy. (more…)

Flooding, and the flood of updates.

Posted: March 22, 2011 by Hilary Paige Smith in #9 Japan

The tragic earthquake and subsequent tsunami that ravaged Japan last week sparked yet another social media revolution, not unlike the onslaught of updates during the uprising in Egypt.

This time, however, I felt like there was more harm than good being done online. Highly sensationalized Facebook and Twitter posts crowded my social networking feeds, leading me to believe Japan was split into four pieces, completely immersed in water and exploding entirely from nuclear meltdown. I found most people were posting in all capital letters, hoping their tweets were the ones to get retweeted. I felt like they were trying to capitalize on the misfortune of people living in Japan.

Every other photo or video post was labelled “THE SHOCKING PHOTOS YOU HAVEN’T SEEN OF JAPAN” or “SCARIEST FLOODING VIDEO EVER.” Every link I followed seem to take me to the same places. It was all very CNN.

The reaction online to the tragedy in Japan wasn’t all bad. I’m not going to bash every Japan-related tweeter and Facebook poster. Not everyone was in it for their hits counter. I think the tsunami opened up a lot of eyes across the world, and did allow people to get as close a look at true tragedy without actually hopping a plane to Japan. Even if people were being dramatic and hoping for hits, their message was effective and word spread rapidly, meaning the most amount of people possible knew what was happening.

I found the words of one PR Newswire reporter interesting, when he or she outlined the three things social media did well throughout the crisis. (

Social networks proved to be an effective way of connecting victims and helping them find their loved ones, as well as letting them know support was out there (notable is the #prayforJapan hashtag that trended on Twitter for four days), as well as getting information from Japan itself and letting people know where to send relief aid.

Even YouTube and Google got in on the Japanese assistance effort. Google revamped their “Person Finder,” useful during the Haiti earthquake, to help connect people with their loved ones online and find out if they were okay. YouTube gave people in Japan and around the world a chance to post video logs, calling out for lost family members, trying to locate them, and offering words of support. They linked their channel with Google, making it even more accessible to people across the world.


I think this is a very effective use of social media. It is a great example of what an amazing tool the internet is, not just for connecting people, but for connecting people when they need it the most.


Where are the people?: News Coverage of Disaster in Japan

Posted: March 22, 2011 by Joanne Goodall in #9 Japan

My birthday was shaken by a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, killing thousands of people, injuring thousands more, and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and in fear. Once the earthquake occurred, news organizations from across North America went overseas to find a story. The story they covered was of the massive tsunami, showing high definition footage of a 3-story wave crashing upon the shores of Japan, racing through their streets, knocking down trees, power lines, cars and houses as it pushed through. For days, people seen “The Day After Tomorrow” like footage, it seemed surreal and almost like it were on a movie set and not reality.


Reporting on disaster

Posted: March 22, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #9 Japan

Earlier this term, I posted a link to a story about a woman texting her mother while buried after an earthquake. For all of the negative things we can say about today’s “connected generation” who spend their entire lives plugged into social media, the technology can actually save lives and provide a link between families at a time of need.

The story is no different in Japan, one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries. As we saw in class on Friday, people are using Facebook to interact with friends and family. They’re using Twitter to raise awareness of fundraising campaigns. Journalists, like The Globe and Mail’s Mark MacKinnon, are using Twitter to provide the most up-to-date information. MacKinnon in particular has been tweeting almost literally around the clock from Japan, and has built a list of other people to follow for the latest info. (more…)

#9 Japan

Posted: March 22, 2011 by Danie Pitre in #9 Japan

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.

#9: Japan – Sharon Fawcett

Posted: March 21, 2011 by sharonfawcett in #9 Japan

Man in the wreckage where the body of his mother was found.

Nearly three hours have passed since I began the assignment to explore news coverage of the disaster in Japan—proof that there is no shortage of news and commentary to be found on the Internet. On Twitter, CNN posted: “More than 21,000 dead or missing in #Japan #quake, #tsunami aftermath, police say.” The linked entry leads to CNN’s news blog, “This Just In.” On this blog is an invitation for people in affected areas to send in “iReports.” It also has an “interactive explainer”—a mini-tutorial with slides and descriptions about nuclear reactor basics and what’s taking place at Japan’s damaged reactors. The blog also has numerous short news videos that address a variety of issues related to the earthquake and tsunami.

On the New York Times’ website are a number of articles about various aspects of the disaster in Japan, as well as photos. One interesting interactive feature on the site shows “before and after” satellite photos of a number of locations in Japan that were devastated by the tsunami, including the Fukushima nuclear plant. Viewers can drag the small blue bar in the middle of the photo to the left or right to see the exact same scene before or after the earthquake. It’s fascinating, and I spent far too much time using it. The New York Times also has a captivating a photo gallery-“Aftermath in Japan.” The images are categorised by date and as of March 21st, there were 172 of them. (more…)

Multimedia Coverage of Japan’s Earthquake

Posted: March 21, 2011 by braillebone in #9 Japan

Since we examined the New York Times’ use of simplistic yet information-packed video broadcast and questioned the validity of the high-production 6 o’clock news hour, I have been getting my Japan coverage from the Times online. This page features a wall of short two minute videos ranging from heartbreaking personal stories to the impacts on U.S. policy. As discussed in class, these videos are not of professional quality and are written more in print style than for television from what I’ve observed, but they are loaded with information, also like a print story.

They also use high quality (172 of which are linked here) photos as stand-alones and accompanying stories. The photos are indicating that journalists are becoming more able to shoot closer to the destruction and to the people so adversely affected by it.

In addition to this, they’ve taken to using sophisticated and interactive graphics like this one on the hazards of storing spent fuel from a nuclear reactor. For example, this one is a six-part graphic that explains what spent fuel is, why it can be dangerous, and how it can become dangerous. This kind of analysis is so valuable because of the overwhelming amount of information flooding in that is often conflicting and hard to digest. It allows an extremely complex situation to be simplified just enough to be made sense of efficiently and easily.

For my initial earthquake news intake, I streamed live feed from the BBC website which was helpful at first, but after about an hour I tired of it because it was extended Skype accounts from people who hadn’t even witnessed anything and had only heard about it. I understand of course that sometimes at the start of a crisis it’s tough to locate any really credible sources for lack of communication or transportation. The live feed was still a great way to become immediately updated while seeing the devastation with my own eyes as it was happening. The BBC news site also has videos and graphics like the New York Times.

As far as social media goes, I have been receiving consistent updates in my Facebook and Twitter news feeds from NPR and the Globe and Mail. Today, for example, my Facebook feed linked to an article from NPR about the fears surrounding nuclear radiation and its absorption into cow’s milk, saying the radioactivity was only a danger after 58,000 glasses.

#9 Japan

Posted: March 17, 2011 by Philip Lee in #9 Japan

Explore the news coverage of the disaster and human tragedy in Japan. How are news organizations using multi-media and social media tools to tell this story? Direct us to some examples. How does the use of these tools influence your understanding of the various dimensions of the story? Are we better informed? Due March 23 before class.