Anyone picking up a copy of The New York Times has likely noticed a story that has been dominating their front page. That story being the 8.9 earthquake which struck Japan, and the ensuing tsunami and nuclear troubles the country has experienced. Of course, The New York Times is far from the only way they have probably heard about it. Perhaps they saw footage on YouTube or they checked for tweets or Facebook posts from people in Japan to verify they were still alive. Others still could get regular updates on a special page hosted by Google. Those checking the same parts of the Internet so many already do on a regular basis were able to get first hand information and footage of the quake as it happened, keeping them in the know and getting them the information they wanted.
Those turning on CNN or Fox News, however, often received parts of that news later and second hand, with the full potential that they might have to wait to hear about it between other stories, some as banal as Charlie Sheen’s latest antics. Why then, should anyone wait for MSNBC to get around to playing one or two of those same YouTube videos and airing selections from some tweets? Unless they lack any access to the World Wide Web, legacy media was the slower and less informative option compared to looking for that same information online. It is disastrous for companies that want to turn a profit to be left so often in the position of relaying the scoops of free media sources, at least if they want to remain relevant. There was a wide amount of coverage for the disaster, but the average news consumer would have been wiser to not bother getting it from the mainstream media.