When you think of fire service media you might think of the magazines like Firehouse Magazine, Fire Engineering Magazine, Fire Rescue Magazine, Fire Chief Magazine, and some others. However, years ago these magazines created web sites which enabled them to get more information to their readers quicker. Readers could now follow breaking news without having to wait until the next publish date of the magazine.
Then came the blogs…typically bloggers are able to get information out quicker than these mainstream fire service web sites. It comes with a price though. I am not talking about a subscription, its just that bloggers work on their own. They don’t have a staff working behind the scenes gathering information. Blogging is all about the time, effort, and ability of the blogger. Probably the most important of which is time. I don’t know any fire bloggers who do it for a living.
In past years, as fire bloggers come and go, there have been some who have really taken it to the next level. Many of them have began giving the mainstream fire service web sites a run for their money. Day in and day out, these bloggers beat the mainstream fire service media to stories, incidents, LODD’s, and other news. The bloggers break the news first, and many do follow up stories on the topics.
Which is better? That all depends on what you are looking for. The mainstream fire service media will probably be more verified, but that comes at a cost of being hours later than the blogs. The blogs typically have the stories from multiple angles. Another huge aspect of blogging is that their aren’t any borders. The mainstream fire news media will likely post a majority on the U.S., whereas bloggers might post a story from wherever as long as they feel their is a need to tell the story.
Case and point:
Take a look at the coverage of a recent 5 Alarm fire in Philadelphia (yesterday).
Firehouse.com coverage included 1 video
Mainstream Fire Service Media Coverage
FH.com simply syndicated a story by the Philadelphia Inquirer which includes 1 video: Five-Alarmer Rips Through Philadelphia School.
FireEngineering.com ran the story without any video/photo and followed it with a story on IAFF local 22′s thoughts on recent brownouts: Fire destroys West Philadelphia charter school and Letters: Another near fire catastrophe in South Philadelphia both of which were syndicated from The Philadelphia Daily News.
FireEngineering.com coverage didn't have any video or photos. They did cover IAFF Local 22's issues with brownouts in another story
None of the stories above give publishing times.
FirefighterNation.com which is the web site for Fire Rescue Magazine is somewhat of a hybrid source. They post information and often link to bloggers articles on topics from FireEMSBlogs.com bloggers. They ran a story at 10:18am yesterday: 5-Alarm Fire Destroys Philadelphia Charter School.
Fire Bloggers Coverage
In order of publish times
Firegeezer was the first with coverage including a photo and video
FireGeezer.com actually posted a story: 5 Alarms in Philly on January 9th at 11:59 am including 1 photo and 1 video.
CommandSafety.com was also on top of the coverage on January 9th at 1:07pm with multiple photos and links to videos and more coverage: Five Alarm School Fire, Philadelphia
FireCritic.com posted a story on two 5 Alarm fires in Philadelphia: Video: Philadelphia Firefighters Battle Two 5 Alarm Fires in Two Days at 7:03 pm Monday. The story included 1 photo, 1 video, and the live dispatch from the fire. It also included 1 photo, 3 videos, and plenty of links to IAFF Local 22′s issues with brownouts.
The Fire Critic had the story along with a photo and video and another 5 alarm fire in Philly and links to Local 22's issues with the brownouts.
STATter911.com did an article on the Philly fires as well: Raw video & fireground audio: Two 5-alarm fires in Philly in two days. This includes a video and the live dispatch of the school fire and more coverage on the other 5 alarm apartment fire.
Bloggers vs. Mainstream Fire Service Media
In the end, we don’t have all of the publish times of the stories. However, FE.com, FH.com, and FFNation.com don’t work on the weekend. In this case, we know that at least FireGeezer does!
What about the coverage… It is obvious that the bloggers do a little more research, pull from more sources, and offer more insight and angles to the story.
I don’t know about you, but if I didn’t have time to read 10 web sites I know the ones I would read over others!
Maybe these bloggers are quickly becoming the mainstream fire service media!
That is just one example. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories FireGeezer finds…nor would you believe the angles that Dave Statter finds. Plus the bloggers do a pretty darn good job of keeping their twitter and facebook readers in tune with updates on stories.