Extra! Extra! The apocalypse is now!

By » Mon, December 12 2011
3429700346 cce50c7424 450x337 Extra! Extra! The apocalypse is now!

This ain't an REM song. She's taking pics of TEOTWAWKI.

Journalists get together and game out what apocalyptic journalism might look like. Imagining a situation with other people can lead to really interesting things.

This weekend at Newsfoo, a fun little future-of-news (un)conference put on by O’Reilly Media, I proposed … “Reporting the End of the World.” Quite literally, how we as journalists will do our work in the apocalypse. It is almost 2012, after all, we should be prepared.

What began as a relatively fun conceit quickly turned into a discussion of very practical things, best illustrated by how our corroborating examples began increasingly to be localized apocalypses like 9-11 or Katrina. Particularly with the scenario of global pandemic, we found ourselves unearthing critical weaknesses in our abilities to do our jobs amidst catastrophe.

They got to prep for 2 apocalypses: alien invasion and flu epidemic. The latter is far more likely. The journalists talked about all sorts of interesting stuff, including robust communications systems, reporting on an epidemic when you can’t go outside, and journalistic ethics (do we report the truth and doom people with doom?).

This shit may be better than Doctorow’s story of how sysadmins came to rule the earth due to an unlikely confluence of everything bad. What would you do and where would you go in a local or global disaster? How would you handle communications if your cell phone didn’t work? It’s one thing to answer these questions for yourself or your family. It’s something entirely different to host a dinner and talk about it with your guests.

There’s an idea…

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