Sinking of the M/V Spice Islander – Twitter Delivers Insight Over Mass Media Noise

This morning I was trying to find articles with real time and genuine insight into the ferry disaster off Tanzania. An old vessel called the Spice Islander grossly overloaded with over 1,000 passengers sank. There have been around two hundred people pulled from the water dead and some 600 rescued. I kept finding one detached articles after another from the mainstream press, many erroneously publishing a photograph of a ferry from the Philippines. Finally I stumbled across an article "Tragedy Unfolds as Passenger Ferry Capsizes off Zanzibar" which was published by Storyful which aggregates content from Twitter. The Twitter hashtag following the disaster is #Zanzibarboataccident as well as #Zanzibar I then began to follow @Tanganyikan who has been tweeting updates and uploading compelling photographs of children rescued from the water as well as tense families waiting for word on whether their loved ones are dead or alive. I also ran across a tweet from @GregHuntoon "Thanks to those who've been trying to deliver the signal over the mass media's noise" He referred to @mpoppel @Arabinizer @Rasahi as well as @Tanganyikan. @Rasahi uploaded an accurate photo of Spice Islander which looks like an old rust bucket. Twitter has indeed delivered information and photographs over the mass media noise. Images of children thought to be lost at sea yet held high above jubilant rescuers, some wearing wet suits. You won't find these type of stories and images of joy and sorrow in Reuters or the AP. Survivor List Zanzibar Outreach Program Photo credit: @Tanganyikan

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