The new journalism: Collaborative effort tweets crucial info on Saturday Red Line subway closure

New media (Twitter) and old media (newspaper coverage and phone calls) converged Saturday to provide CTA riders with up-to-the-minute news about the Red Line subway closure.

It was at 11:42 am Saturday that the first CTA Tweet went out about problems on the Red Line. Punkcoder reported good stuff that CTA Tweet retweeted immediately:

"RT @punkcoder: @ctared Sbound trains redirected above ground due to an equipment failure. No word yet from #CTA: http://bit.ly/17eXi5"

CTA Tweet logo

Just three minutes later we had details on the real reason why the Red Line subway was closed for more than two hours on a busy Saturday afternooon:

"Confirmed: all @ctared trains rerouted to El tracks between Fullerton and Cermak-Chinatown due to a fire. Details here: http://bit.ly/lBfnK"

Then a few minutes later, CTA Tweet posted the detail about the trash fire found at the Sun-Times site.

"Trash fire at Clark and Division is the cause of the @ctared redirect to the El, according to @suntimes: http://bit.ly/7loZk #CTA"

Not too long after that CTA Tweet picked up another rider's report of smoke filtering down to the Chicago station:

"@suntimes: no #CTA trains involved in @ctared fire http://bit.ly/7loZk, but smoke may go to Chicago Ave RT @dward8384 http://bit.ly/QttwY"

More riders then tweeted about their experiences in the aftermath of the trash fire:

"@ctatweet for some reason, my brown line train is running xpress belmont-western. Must be because of the added crowd on here"

I was at the Fullerton platform when I heard it was all over and service was back to normal, So I called my brother and Dan and he tweeted:

"@ctrared back to normal about 20 minutes ago"

So, through the convergence of citizen journalism powered by Twitter, and old-fashioned newspaper reporting posted quickly on the Net, we were able to provide practically minute-by-minute updates until the Red Line subway reopened.

Follow CTA Tweet on Twitter. Share all the good stuff you see and hear, especially the information directly from bus and rail operators and platform loudspeakers.

Read about how we do it.

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  • Not on this topic, but the Tribune today had the official word on the Washington station, including that they had stripped it (4th Q).

    However, I believe that KevinB had told us that at least 8 months ago.

    Maybe on this topic, the bird in the picture looks like the ones Conan O'Brien blows up on the Tonight Show.

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