By: Chris O'Shea
Hurricane Sandy, which is currently tearing up the east coast has been called a "perfect storm" and a "FrankenStorm." With those kinds of nicknames, you know there is going to be non-stop coverage/freakout from the traditional media and the online world. Since both are having a field day, let's take a look at how they're each making the most out of Sandy's day of reckoning.
For traditional outlets, big players like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have dropped their paywalls so that people can view content easily. The Times has a great interactive tracking map and the Journal's "WorldStream" features live news updates and video. Google may not be a traditional outlet, but its "crisis map" is also a fantastically helpful tool for following Sandy's path. And our favorite tracking map is this wind map, which is getting so much traffic it's having a difficult time keeping up.
While those are some great, facts only feeds, some traditional media outlets are focusing on making sure everyone feels as freaked out as possible. The Today show in particular had way too many "weather reports" featuring reporters being blown around for our amusement. Not to be out done, ABC News has a whole sidebar full of videos featuring journalists being wiped out by waves and wind. Hey, at least they know what the viewers want to see.
For a constant feed of Sandy related news, there might not be a better place to visit online than Reddit. The subreddit "Hurricane Sandy" already has over 2,500 subscribers. There are posts with amazingly scary pictures (here's one of downtown Manhattan, which is already seeing a bit of flooding) and some other links that are a bit more helpful, like a tip about writing your social security number on your forearm if you're in an evacuation zone.
Of course no event — no matter how big or small — would be complete without a million parody Twitter accounts and people losing their minds on Facebook. There's one Twitter account called @AFrankenStorm and there are many others, if you feel like looking. Whether they are funny or not might depend on how bored you are. Facebook, of course, is always a good place to find the worst of the online world. BuzzFeed found a bunch of "conspiracy theory" updates, which range from people blaming gays for the storm to people thinking that Sandy was planned by the Obama administration.
This is just a sampling. We're only on day one of Hurricane Sandy coverage, so there's bound to be much more before this thing is over. We're just hoping our power stays on long enough to enjoy all the madness.
[Pic via Flickr - NASA]