Communicating information about the World Trade Center disaster: Ripples, reverberations, and repercussions

Michael Blakemore, Roger Longhorn


The coverage of the disaster in the U.S. on and subsequent to 11 September 2001, on various information channels throughout the world, was extensive. Written, spoken and visual material was produced and broadcast at unprecedented speed by sources ranging from authoritative journalistic channels, to official political spokespersons, to 'unofficial' sources and private persons posting comment on the Web via new Web-based news services, discussion and e-mail lists. The differing speed of response on the Web by the media industry, political and government channels reflected their organizational characteristics and the differing flexibility of reactions to extreme events. This paper traces a timeline of different aspects of news coverage during the week immediately following the disaster, and then over subsequent, more reflective, weeks. The material is used to show how a single dramatic event happening locally reverberates globally, and the impact of the developing global information infrastructure (GII) on these phenomena, geographically, temporally, and sectorally.

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