Im on the Internet most of the day. My primary mode of communication with co-workers, friends and even family is e-mail and instant messaging. Whenever I need to fact check something, I go to Google. I have two browsers and three streaming media players on my laptop so I can get to all sorts of online content.
But when my husband, who listens to the radio in the predawn hours, woke me up and told me terrorists had hijacked a plane and flew it into the World Trade Center, I turned on the television.
Like most Americans — 81 percent, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project (www.pewinternet.org) — I got most of my news about the terrorist attacks from watching TV. Thats a fact that didnt surprise even the most ardent supporters of digital media.
"In a world that requires instant delivery of news, the infrastructure set up for the speediest delivery of video content is through the TV box," said Steve Vonder Haar, director of The Yankee Groups media and entertainment strategies practice, on the day of the attacks.
"People say, Oh, just throw it up on the Web and stream it. But it takes a lot to get that video from the camera to the video stream. You have to encode it and post," Vonder Haar said. "There are steps in the process that take more time, as opposed to a fully developed TV infrastructure that can beam video at the flip of a button. By the time you get the footage of the plane flying into the building online, the building has collapsed."
Although streaming media might not be ready for prime time — yet — its still great add-on viewing. For online users who dont have access to a TV during the workday, the major Web sites offer enough video to appease any news junkie. Even the official White House Web site (www.whitehouse.gov) has turned into a multimedia wonderland, with audio and video clips of the presidents numerous speeches.
TV may have won all the early ratings, but the Internet and streaming media are putting on a strong show of their own.