Blogging comes of age during Katrina coverage

NBC affiliate WDSU-TV moved its entire operations to two sister stations, one in Jackson, MS, and another in Orlando, FL after Hurricane Katrina knocked off the staton's power. The station is continuing its news coverage on the Web. Photo courtesy WDSU-TV in New Orleans.

As Hurricane Katrina tore across the Gulf Coast last week, the Web provided some of the most vivid, first-hand accounts of the storm’s destructive path in the form of blogs, online video/photo galleries and discussion forums.

Blogs run by two New Orleans news outlets — WDSU-TV and The Times-Picayune newspaper — were among the most prolific in their coverage, CNET News reported. The Times-Picayune blog, run in partnership with local news site, mainly ran contributions from its own reporters, but included some photos and reports from citizen journalists, as well. The site’s online forums gave readers a place to exchange questions and information.

WDSU-TV took a similar approach, posting blog accounts from its staff along side news and photos from the Associated Press.

The Times-Picayune said New Orleans’ TV newscasters have mostly covered Katrina as evacuees, abandoning their local studios to team with corporate cousins or work on impromptu news sets around the region.

The newspaper noted that the value of media blogs will grow more valuable in the coming days, as departed citizens hang on to every word about their damaged city. “Until power is restored to New Orleans, Web site simulcasts— at and — will likely have more (relocated) local viewers who will be able to watch over-the-air signals,” the newspaper said.

CNN, MSNBC and USA Today also featured Katrina blogs. featured a blog penned by “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, reporting from inside the leaky New Orleans Superdome, where thousands sought shelter from the storm. CNN opted for a photo blog, which offers images of uprooted trees, collapsed roofs and a lone figure against a vast gray landscape.

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