Even wired workers who spend most of their day tuned into the Web say the first place they turned to get news about the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., was television — at least at first.
With the major news organization showing dramatic footage of the destruction of the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon, viewers were riveted by live pictures of the unfolding drama and looking to the major broadcast and cable news networks for the most up-to-date information about the attacks.
“Even a Web guy will turn to the TV in a crisis situation,” said Steven Vonder Haar, director of the media and entertainment strategies at The Yankee Group. “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.”
Vonder Haar, based in Arlington, Texas, said he first heard about the attacks while glancing at the TV during his morning workout at a local gym and went home to tune into CNN on the tube.
“People say, Oh just throw it up on the Web and stream it, said Vonder Haar. “But it takes a lot to get that video from the camera to the video stream ” you have to encode it and post. 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.”
But as the morning progressed, many say they did turn to the Internet to e-mail and sent instant messages to friends, family and colleagues who were unreachable through the over-taxed telephone system. They also turned to the Web to get alternative news perspectives and make sense of the increasingly disjointed TV news coverage — only to find their favorite news sites inaccessible because of overwhelming traffic.
“I immediately went to the television after my significant other told me a plane had flown into the World Trade Center,” said Skip Ferderber, a public relations consultant in Seattle. “But after 10 minutes, I logged onto the Internet to see if I could find unedited footage.”
But Ferderber found major news sites overloaded and unreachable.
“As soon as I heard, I immediately started watching TV. I didnt even think of tuning into the Internet,” says Anita Malnig, executive vice president of Right Brain Marketing, an online marketing services company in San Francisco.
But Malnig said she eventually switched to the Web because “I couldnt keep watching the buildings falling down over and over again and watching TV reporters harassing rescue workers.”
Rather than log onto domestic news sites, though, Malnig said her first stop was the British Broadcasting Corp.s site because she wanted to get “an international perspective. I found a little more in-depth news about how the FBI is investigating the attacks and I got more background on other terrorist attacks on the U.S.”
But she says shell keep the TV on as well.