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Paper Uses Social Networks to Confront Hurricane Aftermath

Howard I. Finberg’s Poynter Institute online article Hurricane Aftermath: A Community Network shows how one newspaper is using online social networking to help its community deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Charley. He writes in part:

…Fort Myers, FL, News-Press’ Web site is using the power of the network to provide unique and valuable services to friends and family of storm victims. With many residents still without power and/or phone lines, the News-Press site is using what it calls “Info Exchanges” to help relatives discover information about loved ones, to help friends check on the status of friends, and even to help absentee property owners learn if their homes are still standing…

Even as important, the Info Exchanges highlight the unique and important role media companies can play within their communities. The Info Exchanges — with thousands posted so far — are providing some of the “glue” that is holding residents, friends and family together.

The News-Press has stepped beyond traditional reporting roles with this initiative, but its presentation of important community information appears to be more of an extension than a departure from core journalistic objectives

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