When a super storm event like Hurricane Sandy occurs, digital kids and their families get a good, and sometimes sobering opportunity to learn a lot more about the work of journalists — professional and citizen — as well as first responders. Much suffering, as well as amazing feats of service to others, occur during these events, so it’s important to view and consume the most authentic of resources available.
Lots of Hurricane Sandy coverage can be found in newspapers, blogs, and other social media, offering us opportunities learn together as families — as we share the content about the storm, the terrible damage it caused, and the ways that people responded. Children and adults will also use these resources in the coming days to figure out how to help, and in the process we all strengthen our media literacy skills (important in today’s world) by identifying the best and most reliable sources of information.
The other day I discovered an amazing blog as I searched for coverage of the storm and its effects on Ocean Grove, New Jersey (where I spent many happy summers as a child). Run by Paul Goldfinger and colleagues, Blogfinger.net offers me on-the-scene hurricane reports from the little beach town, so dear to me and my family, and now without its own newspaper.
Blogfinger — I discovered it thanks to my cousin, also know as Sandy — turned out to be a terrific resource. It has solid information, great pictures, and well-written narrative. The picture to the right, shows the damage to the Great Auditorium, a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a place where I’ve attended dozens of worship services and concerts. You can check out many other Ocean Grove photographs at the Blogfinger site.
One does not need to look far, however, to find examples of unreliable sources.
Check out the article InstaSnopes: Sorting the Real Sandy Photos from the Fakes, posted on The Atlantic website. The October 29, 2012 piece describes the strategies that people are using to create bogus pictures of the super storm, including recycling scenes from movies and superimposing images from the various east coast locations. Digital photography makes possible just about any type of digital editing, even if the resulting creations misguide others.
For people with access to at least some power during the storm and in the days after — and good access probably means that we are not suffering in any extreme way — check out the excellent photo galleries at The Washington Post (after an advertisement), The New York Times, and NewJersey.com.
But don’t forget smaller and reliable resources like Blogfinger. If you have relatives living through the post-Hurricane Sandy ex in central and southern New Jersey, you can at least find out more about what is happening in one small town.