In 1987, I watched a live broadcast of a little baby rescued from a well in Texas. I cried and celebrated the return of this little girl to her family. I was engaged in watching the wall-to-wall coverage on CNN. It was a new cable channel that focused on the news 24 hours a day. The constant news coverage was a novelty. Little Jessica McClure’s survival and rescue was amazing to watch. (Did I mention I was in seventh grade at the time?)
Fast forward to 2010. For the last 68 days I have watched the world’s coverage of 33 miners trapped for 68 days in Chile. The men have survived in a section of a mine where there was air and the ability to receive nutrition and communication from up above. Workers have struggled to find a way to bring every man back. That process started tonight. And I am glued to the media coverage. But this time, I have watched all of it on my computer while my husband watched baseball on the TV. I watched it on a lot of different sites. I started with TweetBeat’s miner page where I was able to watch tweets from everywhere and watch a UStream of the BBC’s broadcast. I also followed the live coverage on The Huffington Post’s live blog, CNN.com’s live stream and live blog and MSNBC.com.
I haven’t watched any coverage on television… It’s completely online. I feel incredibly connected to this experience just like the day rescuers brought Baby Jessica back to land. I cried watching the little 8-year-old boy cry as his dad was the first miner to return. I laughed as the second miner cheered and yelled and ran around celebrating.
I shared that experience with my husband who is sitting next to me on the couch and with friends on Twitter and Facebook. One of my friends, Zara Arboleda, expressed it best on Facebook from her newsroom in Fresno, California: “Technology is amazing. I’m watching this Chilean mine rescue with friends around the country. And good, old fashioned technology (a capsule, a hole and a rope) has saved the first of 33 lives… what a news night!”
It’s incredible how an emotional story is an emotional story – with old school broadcast or the many new communication tools of today. It’s just even easier to be a part of the experience… especially when someone else has taken over the TV.
(UPDATE: One other thing I discovered as I surfed this miner rescue online. The country of Chile is sharing the live feeds and even a constantly updated Flickr feed of the rescue. That’s incredibly savvy.)