How Do You Learn About Your Local Community?

Television remains the top source of local news for most Americans but many now turn to the internet and cast a wider net for information on specific topics, according to survey results released Monday.

While local TV news was the main source for staples such as weather, traffic and breaking news, the internet was the preferred resource for finding more specific information, according to the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project.

Local news and information is filtered best via community, perhaps even more so in the digital age. People continue to show faith in community, whether learning news via word-of-mouth at the supermarket or via local sources and neighbors on Facebook and Twitter. Fifty-five percent said they get their local news via word of mouth at least once a week compared to 74 percent for television, 51 percent for radio, 50 percent for the local newspaper, 47 percent for the Internet, and 9 percent for a printed community newsletter.

Read the rest of my post and check out the full survey at KCET’s The Public Note blog.

Q&A: Maria Armoudian, Author of ‘Kill the Messenger: The Media’s Role in the Fate of the World’

Maria ArmoudianMaria Armoudian is a journalist, educator, and a consultant for Mayor Villaraigosa and other civic commissions. She hosts The Insighters and Scholars’ Circle Sundays at noon on KPFK.

Her new book, Kill the Messenger examines the recent history of the media’s role and influence on cultural and political conflicts from the Holocaust, to the Rwandan genocide to WikiLeaks and the Arab Spring. It’s a five-part book illustrating the influence of media on society and the human condition under varying cultural and political climates. Media can make a big difference, the book resolves, from fomenting mass rage and genocide upon a wave of propaganda in Rwanda to creating and enabling a bridge to conflict resolution with the help of international NGOs in neighboring Burundi.

Continue reading “Q&A: Maria Armoudian, Author of ‘Kill the Messenger: The Media’s Role in the Fate of the World’”

Keeping an Eye on Hurricane Irene via Social Media and Open Data

Hurricane Irene August 26 NASA Satellite

A massive hurricane is swirling toward the eastern seaboard of the U.S. leaving 29 million people under a Hurricane warning on Friday night. Currently a category 2 storm, Hurricane Irene is forecast to straddle the coast before making landfall near New York City. Here in Southern California we don’t have many hurricane threats but then again it had been a while since the East Coast experienced a strong earthquake before this week. But in 1939 the only tropical storm to make landfall in California killed dozens at sea before coming ashore in Long Beach. 45 deaths were reported as a result of the flooding. And in 1858 a hurricane is said to have nearly made landfall off the San Diego coast, causing the 2011 equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars before turning back out to sea.

But in the 19th and even the 20th centuries we did not have the advanced warning and communications systems that we have today. Without even grazing land, Hurricane Irene is making history — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that today was the first time in the city’s history that mandatory evacuations had been ordered. About a quarter-million residents, primarily on the low-lying edges of Manhattan were urged to abandon their homes. New York’s subway system will be shut down Saturday at noon due to the threat of flooding.

Continue reading “Keeping an Eye on Hurricane Irene via Social Media and Open Data”