Aardvark Daily
Media frenzy over Diana's death spreads to Web
Copyright © 1997 to Bruce Simpson
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1 Sept 1997

Just in case you missed it, Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car accident in Paris early on Sunday morning. TV, radio and print publishers all over the world set-aside their normal schedules and content to deliver the news.

But the Web may have been the best place to get the latest and most detailed information.

Within minutes of the first reports, CNN's Web site was carrying the headlines and some sketchy details. Shortly thereafter other news sites such as The Washington Post, Fox News and Yahoo were carrying similar features.

Anyone searching for background information on the Princess and her life would have found almost 2,000 pages available through Alta Vista and over 2,300 pages on Infoseek. Searches for Dodi Al-Fayed are a little less productive however with Alta Vista finding just 90 references and Infoseek just 50.

While the broadcasters rushed to rescreen old footage and documentaries featuring the Princess in an attempt to retain viewer interest, the average Web surfer could do their own searching and review of the available information.

Perhaps the key benefit of the Net as a news-delivery mechanism is the way that users can do their own research and scan huge amounts of information such a short space of time - while users of other media are "spoon-fed" whatever the news-editors feel appropriate.

Just as important is the way that, once you've had your fill of the "story of the day", you can get on with your normal surfing activities.

Regardless of Diana's unarguable qualities and the scale of the tragedy, 12 hours of continuous TV coverage of a Paris auto-accident is more than most people want or can tolerate.

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