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MUMBAI ONLINE: the Eyes and Ears for Millions


Although I am still in the midst of a Tryptophanic haze,
I want to again link to some of the remarkable citizen journalists (and in some cases professional journalists using unconventional means) who have been eyes and ears for the rest of us who wanted to understand the human dimension of the events that unfolded with deadly force in Mumbai over the past three days.

There was for example Dina Meta , an ethnographer and social media consultant whose Twitter feed can be found here.

And then there are the harrowing accounts from Aran Shanbhag who lives near the Hotel Taj Mahal. (Scroll down to find his first post.) In words and photos, he talks about his best friend’s brother being killed, about the blood from a dead waiter he sees on the pavement in front of the barbershop where he gets his hair cut every week, about the shock at seeing a landmark that had known all his life becoming a flaming palace of death.

NPR did a wonderful story on an Indian journalist named Sreenath Sreenivasanwho is the dean of student affairs at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York. Within an hour of the attacks, Sreenivasan set up a call in radio show to aggregate and curate the observations of his fellow journalists who were on the ground in Mumbai and related areas.

“It was technology allowing us to do things we could never have done even a year ago…” he said.

Here’s a link to the first of the series of broadcasts he did as news of the situation was just beginning to filter out. (And here is the link to subsequent broadcasts.) It makes for remarkable listening.

And, of course, there are the collective Twitter feeds, with #MUMBAI the biggest one

Instead of conventional linear journalism, suddenly we had an Einsteinian explosion of reporting in which many pieces came together to form an dynamically-evolving whole.


(Photo of school children in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad taking part in a vigil for the victims of the Mumbai attacks, by Amit Dave for REUTERS)


  • I got fools to the right of me
    Liars to the left
    Thieves right behind me
    And thugs to back me up

    My daddy was the president
    My grandpa was a senator
    My daddy ran the C.I.A
    I ain’t done nothing sinister

    I never worked a day in my life
    Been handed all I got
    I’m just a good old boy
    Out on the dusty trail
    Ridin’ in my pick-up truck
    All the way from Yale

    I lied to start a dirty war
    I lied and lied some more
    Now a lot of mother’s kids
    Won’t be home no more

    But I’m the president
    Of the U.S.A.

  • What a shame that terrorism raises its head after the U.S. elected a mommy president to nuture rather than a daddy president for protection.

  • Woody, that’s just plain stupid. (And have you checked lately to see who the president is at the moment? Not that he was responsible either, although his handling of Pakistan has been….less than ideal, shall we say.)

    Okay, I’m going to stop taking the bait now. But good gravy, you can do better than that. There wasn’t even a pretense at logic.

  • Celeste, I think you took it differently than I meant it, but I’m not sure; but, I didn’t mean it as bait. It’s just an observation.

    Earlier this year, Democrats admitted that a terrorist attack against the U.S. would hurt their chances for the White House. Obama focused on domestic issues “for the children” and “for working familites” (mommy) while the public trusts Republicans more in areas of the war on terror and national defense (daddy).

    This latest attack raised the spectre of future attacks directly against us–something most voters, especially Democrats, forgot or downplayed. In my view, Obama will be more concerned with terrorist prisoner rights than obtaining information from them and taking steps to stop future attacks.

    If that’s not logical to you, then don’t blame me.

  • BTW, how many people do you know who actually use the word Tryptophanic? I did see it twice in reference to eating turkey, but I had to look it up.

  • “how many people do you know who actually use the word Tryptophanic?”

    Um. Actually, lots. (I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.) We’re writers. We like turning nouns into adjectives (and verbs). It’s our form of low-cost amusement.

    As for the mommy/daddy thing, I’m on a deadline so can’t address at much length now, but I did understand the reference, but think its tired, old, and as Richard Nixon used to say, inoperative. Obama’s plenty tough, but in a smart, competent way. As nearly as I can see, in terms of his appointments, he’s thus far mostly focused on the economy (traditional daddy role, if we most go there) and foreign policy (ditto).

    If Bush and the Republicans have been daddy, they’ve been very, very bad, drunken, loud, obnoxious, blustering louts who listened to no one, spent all the money on crap and cronies, beat people up, told everyone to shut their traps whenever someone disagreed with their profligate ways, did favors for their loutish pals whom they let take over the house (instead of looking out for their families), and pretended to be tough when, in reality, they had the toughness of mind of habitual bar brawlers. In short they have f*cked the family over bigtime. That’s why we divorced them.

    If they’re the dads (which is an insult to fathers everywhere), then for God’s sake, bring on the moms.

    As for the security-minded tendencies of mothers, if given the choice, would you rather face in the woods:

    A. A large male grizzly….


    B. A female grizzly with cub


  • What a shame that terrorism raises its head after the U.S. elected a mommy president to nuture rather than a daddy president for protection. – Woody

    How many marines died in Beirut, Lebanon while Daddy Reagan was president? In the Oct. 23, 1983, attack, a terrorist driving a bomb-laden truck struck the headquarters of Battalion Landing Team 1, 8th Marines, killing 241 Americans, including 238 Marines.

  • “I Was Unprepared For War”… “I’m Sorry” About The Economic Crisis… Some Voters Backed Obama ‘Because Of Me’

    I am sorry too Mr. Bush – sorry that all of those people that you sent to Iraq and Afghanistan are never going to be the same. I am sorry that the economy is going south in a handbasket causing many to not be able to retire. I am sorry that many more will suffer from lost of work, homeless, and destitution while many on Wall Street and Big Business take home golden parachutes at the working class’ expense.

    I am sorry that you were ever elected President of the most powerful nation becuase we are nothing like we were before you became president of the United States of America.

  • Celeste, I’m not a predetor. Your example could only apply for non-predators that encounters bears. I wouldn’t like either one. Where animals live in a group with both males and females, such as lions, the male defends the group.

    Democrats downsize military in favor of mommy spending. You know it. Why would I trust someone to defend out country when they strip the military budget for social causes?

    – – –

    The example of Reagan and the barracks attack has no validity. The troops were there on a security mission with high risks and where danger exists. On the other hand, Clinton was President when the USS Cole was attacked when it was on a routine maintenance stop.

    Bush has been President where there have been no domestic attacks against the U.S. since 9-11. On that, I’d say that Bush has done a pretty good job.

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