|The Teeth announcement on Twitter of Bhutto’s assassination, viewed via Snitter.|
This morning as I was making tea, I learned via NPR that Pakistani opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Google News already offers a slew of mainstream news coverage of the assassination — based almost entirely on reporting done outside Pakistan, since tight restrictions on journalists remain in force in Pakistan even though President Pervez Musharraf lifted lifted six weeks of emergency rule on Dec. 15. (More on that country’s press restrictions from the International Federation of Journalists and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.)
Given the current dearth of available professional journalism from within Pakistan, the country’s lively blogosphere — much of it in English — has become a key source of original and diverse news, analysis, commentary, and context from around that troubled nation. Today especially would be a good time to start paying close attention to Pakistani blogs.
One of the easiest places to get started is a blog aggregator with the unlikely name of Teeth Maestro…
Teeth Maestro is run by Dr. Awab Alvi, a Pakistani dentist practicing in Karachi. This site offers an RSS feed and e-mail alerts — but for a couple of months now I’ve been following alerts from this site via Twitter.
In fact, I would recommend that if you’re skeptical of the value of microblogging services like Twitter, you should definitely sign up for Twitter today (if you haven’t already) and start following Teeth there. The key value to keep in mind about Twitter: Since it’s mobile-friendly for posting and receiving, and since it just works, it’s proven exceptionally useful during crises.
Since the Twitter site is rather a blunt instrument for using the service, you might want to download and install Snitter — a slick third-party Twitter interface based on the Adobe Air platform, for Windows or Mac. Snitter offers many nice interface options, include optional pop-up/fade-out mini-window notifications of new “tweets.” There are many Twitter applications to suit various devices and needs, including various mobile interfaces. You can find a fairly comprehensive list on the Twitter fan wiki.
Another great resource for following Pakistani blogs today is the Pakistan section of Global Voices Online, a popular blog aggregator that syndicates blogs from over 100 countries. As a matter of fact, GVO editor Georgia Poppelwell tipped me off about Teeth on Twitter at a November conference in Catalonia, and I’ve been following both Teeth and the GVO Pakistan section ever since. (Thanks, Georgia!)
What do you think of the contribution Pakistani blogs are making to the coverage of and public conversation about the Bhutto assassination and other current events in that country? What other resources would you recommend? Please comment below.
(NOTE: I originally wrote this for Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits. This is a re-edited cross-post.)