Radio and social media help inform Brazil during deadly floods

  • By Guest
  • January 17, 2011

By Maira Magro

The community station Friburgo FM is helping the citizens of Nova Friburgo find people missing in the Rio de Janeiro floods that have killed more than 600, Folha de S. Paulo reports.

The radio station takes calls from its listeners, shares updated lists of the deceased, and gives tips on avoiding infections in the aftermath. It also has correspondents in the streets reporting via phone.

Social media has also taken on an important role in circulating news throughout the flood-affected region, as it has done in other recent disasters (see Knight Center posts on the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti and past flooding in Brazil).

G1 reports that live video from journalism student Bernardo Dugin’s Twitter account has helped residents find up-to-date information. He has set up an ad-hoc news center to help users answer each other’s questions about the flood, which Estadão says reaches around 1,000 viewers at a time. “The information that is on TV and in the newspapers is very generic. There are many people wanting to know what is going on in a specific place, if it is possible to get news on a specific person, and I’m trying to help,” the student told the newspaper.

On Orkut – a social network popular in Brazil – and Facebook there are profiles to gather more information from citizens. Portal Imprensa explains that journalists have found it difficult to travel in the affected areas and that power outages at Rio de Janeiro TV stations have affected the traditional media’s ability to report on the floods.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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