Dan Gillmor’s eJournal has another great example documenting another great example of participatory journalism:
“It wasn’t newspapers or television or radio that originally spread the word about the outbreak of a serious respiratory illness, now known as SARS, in southeast China. It was SMS — text messages on mobile phones.”
“But SMS as an early-warning system seems to have worked in this case. It’s an important if under-publicized element in this larger saga. And it’s a lesson in how news and information are changing — how the world will look fairly soon.”
Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs blog has some background on this too.
Rheingold also noted an interesting SMS usage by the Chinese government in the SARS saga: “In Hong Kong the government averted a panic when a false internet story about SARS was posted — by sending a blanket SMS text message to 6 million mobile phones that denied that Hong Kong had been declared an “infected city”.”