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Keene Flood 2012: Lessons Learned about Dissemination of Information?

Posted May 30 2012 12:14pm

Another big flood here in Keene, NH.  With nearly all roads to the north washed out, friends from South Acworth had to camp out in my Condo in town (and may have to stay tonight as well).  A block from my house roads are under water:


The chatter in town this morning is how reminiscent today's flood is to the disastrous one we had in 2005 where several died (to the north in Alstead).  It was a marker day for those of us in the Keene area as we struggled to find out just what was happening.  And, much to our surprise, it was not easy to find out.  Local media (with the exception of a local radio station) and NH television were surprisingly slow to report and it was nearly impossible to get reporters out to stranded towns.

I remember getting a call from Jon Udell who lived up the street and was equally frustrated about difficulties getting information.  But Jon decided to take matters in to his own hands and taped a video camera to his bicycle, recording and posting scenes  of flooding in Keene.  I followed by posting pics , a podcast , and information as it came to be via phone from outlying towns.

It was a bit of a marker event because it shed light on the limitations of traditional media and the contributions that could be made by citizens via social media (mostly blogging back then).  Since then, traditional media, including NH public radio, NH based TV, and local print media have adapted to a great extent, and we continue to move toward a greater collaboration of social and traditional media in getting the news out to people. (note: But if anyone can tell me if there's any way to get up to South Acworth from Keene I'm still getting conflicting information from town fire departments and local media outlets!)


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