Today’s devastating earthquake in Chile has dominated the news (at least after the tsunami warning in Hawaii was called off). I thought it would be interesting to see how two online media outlets, one international and one domestic, approach their coverage of the quake. I examined coverage by CNN and BBC News.
The two types of coverage by the outlets have some similarities but are mostly different. CNN relies heavily on citizen journalism, far much more than the BBC has for this event. CNN’s iReport model is the largest indicator of that. With iReport, CNN is able to show a variety of perspectives of the quake that the media does not have access to. In another example of its reliance of citizen journalism, CNN provides links to the quake’s hashtag on Twitter (#chilequake).
CNN has many videos related to the earthquake and its aftermath, some of which are taken from CNN’s on air coverage. Some of the videos are also live streams taken from affiliates in Chile. BBC News offers many videos of its own, but definitely not as many as CNN.
CNN also has a page of up-to-the-minute updates regarding today’s events. The updates go all the way back to early in the morning when the earthquake first hit.
While it lacks in its amount of videos when compared to CNN, BBC News offers more written news reports. Of these stories, one is about some Chileans’ experiences of the quake and the events that followed. This story could act as a counterpart to some of the iReport images that CNN has been featuring.
Outside of the footage from CNN’s broadcasts, CNN hasn’t really been doing much of its own hard-hitting reporting, when held in comparison to the BBC. BBC News, as discussed, has been much more reliable with providing its own print news reports. CNN has been much more reliable in the visual areas of news reporting, relying heavily on user-generated content.
That type of coverage might actually give CNN a pass as far as providing print content. With natural disasters, visuals usually can tell the story on their own.