I didn’t come up with that, my friend Hubbit did. Yesterday I was on the 339 Metra UPN (Union Pacific North) train from Ogalvie to home when, right outside the Rogers Park stop, there was a big THUMP and a bump and the train stopped.
Right away I knew we hit someone. My first thought was to text home and let everyone know I’d be a little late. My second thought was to check out Twitter and see what was up. There was nothing out there, so I tweeted that the train had stopped 3 blocks from the station, and there was no explanation, but I thought we hit someone.
After about 15 minutes of waiting, they announce there was a ‘Pedestrian Incident’, and I was sure we’d hit someone. The police, an ambulance and four fire trucks were brought in and, over the course of 2 hours, they investigated. Yeah, two hours. I sat on the train, gabbed with a friend, twittered when I had news, shared news with the people in my car (like how the Red and Purple lines were going to honor Metra passes that day to help people get home), and waited.
My friend called NBC, who told her they knew, but according to those at home, it never made the news. It wasn’t in the paper (except as a small, one paragraph mention in the Chi Trib), and it wasn’t on the WGN News at Nine. In fact, had I not been on the Metra and had Twitter and was following @MetraUPN, I might not have known what was happening at all!
I don’t fault the Metra. There was little, if anything, they could do. You don’t want to announce ‘Yeah, this train is a KILLER’ and scare kids (yesterday was ‘Take your Child to Work’ Day), but on the other hand, some status would have been nice. And where were the reporters? We could hear (and see) choppers, but frankly, if you go search Twitter for ‘Metra’, you can find my comments (I apparently was the first) followed by a horde of other Tweeple on the same train, and then, HOURS later, regular news Twitter accounts picking up the news.
Hours passed, and the news felt it more important to Tweet about iPhone’s stupid ‘Baby Shaker’ app. Which is terribly offensive and wrong, Apple, dude. Not even WBEZ mentioned it (though apparently it did make the radio).
Go try to find articles on it, and you’ll be hard pressed to find more information than Twitter had, at the time of the incident. The only thing I learned from the ChiTrib that Twitter hadn’t told me was that the guy did die (the ambulance left with sirens on, so I assumed he was still alive), and the autopsy is today (Friday).
Well done, Chicago News. This is why you suck, why you’re losing money, and why you’re becoming archaic. If you can’t report on things in real-time, you’re nigh useless. I don’t want to have to wait a day to find out why I was stuck on a train for two hours. This is 2009, catch up!