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Interactive and social media documenting Australian bushfires

The extensive bushfires in the Australian state of New South Wales have made global headlines in the past week.

Social media, particularly via the Twitter hashtag #nswfires, is serving as a way for media and emergency services to post updates, but also for users in fire affected areas to document and share information, experiences and photos.

A number of bushfire photos also went viral via social media. For example this shot of exhausted firefighters resting on a road.

On YouTube, this helmet camera footage posted by the Blackheath – Mt Victoria Rural Fire Brigade shows the extreme conditions firefighters are facing.

Australia’s public broadcaster, ABC, plays an important role during natural disasters and emergencies such as bushfires, to keep communities accurately informed – particularly through their local radio network.

That’s a huge media development topic to explore on its own, particularly for national media networks in developing countries seeking a model for informing and communicating with audiences during natural disasters.

For now though, what caught onMedia’s eye was the ABC’s use of tools such as Storify and ThingLink to help visualize stories on their live bushfire blog.

The ABC is using the social media storytelling tool Storify to produce galleries of bushfire images shared on social media networks. Storify is also a great social media search tool.

And this ThingLink image below showing the inside of the NSW Bushfire Command Centre is an excellent example of producing simple and effective interactive media. Users can roll over the points to find out more about the function of each section in the command centre. To find out more about using ThingLink you can read our recent Tools and Apps for Journalists blog post.


Eye in the sky

Helicopters are often used by broadcasters for filming aerial shots, but a YouTube video produced by CiviDrones has used a drone (unmanned aerial vehicle/ UAV) to fly over fire affected areas around the city of Lithgow. The UAV even flew into a damaged building and filmed a fire front. The footage has been widely used by international media and shared on social media.

Author: Guy Degen


Wednesday 2013-10-23



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