Online media may still be tying itself in knots over the small matter of how to make money but when it comes to covering horrific humanitarian crises, it really comes into its own.

Compare this example of print coverage of the Haitian disaster:

haiti

With this from @theparkerreport:

@theparkerreport The wretched smell of dead bodies. Bloated and stiff. People still litter the roads. Everyone is wearing masks. More on this later.

@theparkerreport One lady in Carrefour last night set up triage on a dirt road. She stitched someone from elbow-Shouldr. I held the light for her. #haiti

@theparkerreport http://twitpic.com/xzk23 – People were killed by the steeple, which fell from a great distance. #haiti

Or this picture gallery from The Boston Globe.

Or a rolling update from The New York Times blog The Lede that’s been tracking news coverage on the web, collating personal accounts posted online and asking readers to help draw their attention to any news and first-hand accounts they come across.

There’s nothing like a live twitter feed from the streets of a crumbling country to really punch you in the solar plexus. And this kind of as-it-happens coverage can serve to convey the full scale of the tragedy much more effectively than any sensational tabloid headline.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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