ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

L.A. Quake: How Dropped The Ball & How Bloggers Could Pick It Up

Updated on July 29, 2008

I watched the live coverage on's streaming video of the Chino Hills earthquake and I am aghast at the befuddled incompetence shown by this august news organization that really should have had its act together, but sorrowfully didn't even come close.

The quake struck at 11:42 am Pacific Time. Unbelievably, it was well over half an hour later when they finally got someone on the phone from Anaheim Hills who was actually close enough to the epicenter to be able to report that their home had suffered some structural damage when their garage flexed. What had CNN done for the half hour after the quake? They had aired telephone calls from people in San Diego, San Bernardino, Anaheim, and other places that were at least 20 miles away, with one being over 80 miles away!

This was not an apocalyptic 9+ shaker that devastated the Southland. This was a relatively mediocre 5.8, later re-evaluated as a 5.4 earthquake which is not that overly unusual in Southern California. It would follow that any of the more serious reactions and reports of damage wouldn't be in San Diego, but would be in Diamond Bar, Brea, Yorba Linda and Chino Hills. Why couldn't they get anyone on the phone from those areas for over half an hour?

At 12:15 pm Pacific time, I went to and called three businesses completely at random with Chino Hills addresses. Guess what? They all answered the phone. I didn't bug them for quake reports, I was just trying to prove the point that Chino Hills was reachable, even from another country (I'm in Canada.)

What was the problem at's multi-zillion dollar shiny CNN Center? Don't they pay their journalists enough to figure out that they can just call up a few people who live in the actual area and get reports from them? The Chino Hills Police is at 14282 Peyton Drive, phone (909) 364-2000. I didn't call them as I didn't want to be a pest, but CNN certainly could have dialed those digits and received a statement directly from the local constabulary as to reports of damage. What were they doing talking to someone from San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department in San Bernardino, well over 25 miles away? Can't they just google map San Bernardino County and realize that it is one of the largest counties in square miles in the United States? And what they were doing talking to San Diego Police is completely beyond me. Maybe the folks at CNN can air google maps but they can't read them.

This should serve as a lesson to any web publisher who is even remotely involved in news or current events issues. Just because the gargantuan juggernauts of the news marketplace such as CNN, New York Times, Reuters, etc. spend more on coffee than you will likely earn in your entire lifetime does not mean that you can't kick their derrieres if you pick your spots. These monolithic organizations are incapable of making common sense decisions under the gun. You would think that they should be, but as this quake coverage amply demonstrates, they are not able to get a junior stringer to look up phone numbers in the local epicenter area and start dialing. That's where the great equalizer that is the World Wide Web can be used to your best advantage. If as a blogger you had been strategically positioned to blog quickly and intelligently during this event, you might have gained yourself a reputation that could have begun your ascent to the rarefied stratosphere of blogging. You could have received reports that news watchers want to learn about way ahead of the CNNs of the world that are airing completely irrelevant conversations with bored law enforcement officers two hours drive away.

A good lesson to all web publishers and bloggers: If you are fast, agile, and can think on your feet, you can position yourself as the next Drudge. All it takes is common sense and the ability to implement it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)