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What I Learned In Joplin

thedeadline:

I’m going to write this in a stream of consciousness, the same way I experienced Joplin.

It was my first time covering — more accurately, trying to cover — a disaster. The National desk knows I am a weather geek, so I came close to covering the tornadoes in North Carolina in April, and then the tornadoes in Alabama earlier this month. But the timing wasn’t right in either case.

This time, it was. I happened to be awake at 2 a.m. for a 6 a.m. ET flight to Chicago on Monday morning, just 12 hours after the tornado struck in Joplin. While in the air, I wondered if I should volunteer to go there. When I landed, I looked at the departure board and saw that a flight was leaving for Kansas City in 45 minutes. On a whim, I walk-ran to the gate and asked if I could buy a standby ticket. The agent said yes.

Two calls to New York later, I booked the 8 a.m. CT flight. I told the National desk that I’d be in Joplin at noon local time. I had no maps, no instructions, no boots. I had a notebook but no pen.

What I learned: always carry extra pens.

My cell phone was dying, but I reserved a car online before take-off. On the flight, I wrote a blog post about Oprah.

I was in the rental car at 9:45 and on the highway three minutes later. 176 miles to go, fueled by granola bars purchased at Whole Foods the day before. On the way, there was a conference call with the National desk. I was to travel to the ruined hospital and try to interview doctors, patients and other survivors. My worry, of course, was that the survivors would be far away from the hospital.

Monica Davey, a Times correspondent in Chicago, texted me the hospital address. My iPhone, now charging through my laptop, showed the way ahead. But as I approached Joplin, cell service began to degrade dramatically.

I’m aware that what I’m going to say next will probably sound petty, given the scope of the tragedy I was witnessing. But the lack of cell service was an all-consuming problem. Rescue workers and survivors struggled with it just as I did.

What I learned: It’s easy to scoff at the suggestion that satisfactory cell service is a matter of national security and necessity. But I won’t scoff anymore. If I were planning a newsroom’s response to emergencies, I would buy those backpacks that have six or eight wireless cards in them, all connected to different cell tower operators, thereby upping the chances of finding a signal at any given time.

This is my first time coming upon a natural disaster as a reporter. I suppose my instinct should be “first, do no harm.”

Entering Joplin, I drove along 32nd Street, the south side of the devastated neighborhood, getting my bearings, wondering if it was safe to drive over power lines, looking for a place to leave my car. I parked a block from the south side of the hospital and approached on foot, taking as many pictures as possible, knowing I’d need them later to remember what I was seeing.

I tried to talk to a couple of nurses. They said they were not allowed to.

I started trying to upload pictures to Instagram. It sometimes took what seemed like ten minutes of refreshing to upload just one picture.

A view of the north side of the hospital in Joplin. http://instagr.am/p/EoTHO/

What I learned: In areas with spotty service, Instagram and Twitter apps need to be able to auto-upload until the picture or tweets gets out. (I’m sure there’s a technical term for this.)

I walked to 26th Street, north of the hospital, where the satellite trucks had piled up, and found The Weather Channel crew that had arrived in Joplin just after the storm. After interviewing the crew, we watched the search of a flattened house. That’s when I was able to see the extent of the damage to the neighborhood for the first time.

I’m speechless.

Part of me thought, “This is a television story more than a print story.” It was an appeal to the heart more than the brain.

I started trying to tweet everything I saw — the search of the rubble pile, the sounds coming from the hospital, the dazed look on peoples’ faces.

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vimeobuzz:

CNET: “Along with the new player, Vimeo quietly rolled out a new feature called ‘Watch Later’ that allows users to bookmark videos to watch at a later date. This differs from the service’s like button, which would share your video preferences with other users, and instead keeps bookmarked videos in a private playlist.” 

vimeobuzz:

CNET: “Along with the new player, Vimeo quietly rolled out a new feature called ‘Watch Later’ that allows users to bookmark videos to watch at a later date. This differs from the service’s like button, which would share your video preferences with other users, and instead keeps bookmarked videos in a private playlist.” 

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staff:

Like music? We fucking love music. Which is why we’re so excited to finally announce that we’ve hooked up with SoundCloud to bring their network of sound (music, podcasts, standup, journalism, and pretty much anything audible) to Tumblr.
Not only can you cut-and-paste any SoundCloud track URL into your Audio posts, now you can search SoundCloud from the comfort of Tumblr!

And did we mention you can post an unlimited number of SoundCloud tracks every day? Yeah.
But where this really shines is on your beautiful blogs. We pull in the track info, album art, and play count, to display perfectly in your theme. Here’s one in our Well Liked theme:

And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, our wonderful friends at SoundCloud just added a “Share on Tumblr” feature to their iPhone/Android apps, Tumblr buttons on all SoundCloud tracks, and Tumblr auto-posting for SoundCloud users. *swoon*

Get to posting. Enjoy!

staff:

Like music? We fucking love music. Which is why we’re so excited to finally announce that we’ve hooked up with SoundCloud to bring their network of sound (music, podcasts, standup, journalism, and pretty much anything audible) to Tumblr.

Not only can you cut-and-paste any SoundCloud track URL into your Audio posts, now you can search SoundCloud from the comfort of Tumblr!

And did we mention you can post an unlimited number of SoundCloud tracks every day? Yeah.

But where this really shines is on your beautiful blogs. We pull in the track info, album art, and play count, to display perfectly in your theme. Here’s one in our Well Liked theme:

And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, our wonderful friends at SoundCloud just added a “Share on Tumblr” feature to their iPhone/Android apps, Tumblr buttons on all SoundCloud tracks, and Tumblr auto-posting for SoundCloud users. *swoon*

Get to posting. Enjoy!

9,270 notes

staff:

 
It’s now super easy to add a “Share on Tumblr” button to any site.
Adding the basic Tumblr Button couldn’t be simpler. Just cut and paste the code and you’ll be off running. But the advanced options are where it gets interesting…
The Tumblr Button can give you complete control over how your content appears when shared on Tumblr. Not only does this mean specifying an excerpt or summary, but also deciding whether it appears as a Link, Quote, Photo, or Video Embed.
Even better: This can be deeply integrated with just about any publishing platform to add contextual buttons next to things like paragraphs or photos. Check out these examples.
The appearance of the button is also completely customizable.
Click here to get started!

staff:

It’s now super easy to add a “Share on Tumblr” button to any site.

Adding the basic Tumblr Button couldn’t be simpler. Just cut and paste the code and you’ll be off running. But the advanced options are where it gets interesting…

The Tumblr Button can give you complete control over how your content appears when shared on Tumblr. Not only does this mean specifying an excerpt or summary, but also deciding whether it appears as a Link, Quote, Photo, or Video Embed.

Even better: This can be deeply integrated with just about any publishing platform to add contextual buttons next to things like paragraphs or photos. Check out these examples.

The appearance of the button is also completely customizable.

Click here to get started!

1,347 notes

Video: What is Mozilla?

brettgaylor:

I’ve been working on and off for many months on a video to explain Mozilla to the uninitiated. The home for the video is now on the Get Involved page of the mozilla.org site, and I’m excited that it will be part of a process for getting people excited about pitching in at Mozilla. You can watch it below: mega hats off to Rainer Cvillink, Mozilla’s in-house video wizard, for all the great camera work, and to Jenn Strom for editing and motion grapnics.