Haiti Earthquake Living Lab for Using New Media

New Knight Foundation funded report, Media, Information Systems and Communities: Lessons from Haiti, states in part:

The [earthquake] relief efforts quickly became a living laboratory for new applications such as SMS (short message service) texting, interactive online maps and radio-cell phone hybrids. These tools were applied to urgent tasks such as guiding search-and-rescue teams, locating missing persons and delivering food and water to the populations that needed them the most.

It adds:

This report captures three important observations:

1. Traditional humanitarian organizations were often open to the new technologies, but remain nervous about the implications of information and powersharing through crowdsourcing and other new media platforms.

2. Joint humanitarian communities demonstrated that there were many beneficial ways to use digital media in the crisis setting, particularly texting functions.

3. Although much of the attention has been paid to new media technologies, radio was the most effective
tool for serving the needs of the public. The first media priority in Haiti was to restore radio service (as it was in the tsunami and other recent crises).

Read the full report here and the Knight press release here.

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