At 4:36 a.m., a magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook the Midwest.
At 4:53 a.m., the Methods Reporter, an independent Chicago news site, had a story up saying there was a earthquake. At that point, Chicago Public Radio was reporting that the Chicago Police Department was receiving calls, but they had little other information. Google news had nothing.
At 4:58 a.m., a reader named Ed posted a comment to the story with a link to a map describing the earthquake, it’s magnitude, and the epicentre. They promptly ran the image and Methods Reporter had more information about the quake than any other news source.
At 7:00 a.m., Google Adwords was charging $0.10 for “chicago earthquake,” according to Brad Flora, the publisher of the Methods Reporter. Soon after his ad appeared, Chicago Public Radio and EveryBlock ads started to show up as well, but neither were running a story, as of 7:10 a.m.
Update: At 7:37 a.m., Flora said that Adwords had brought in 23 clicks, costing him a total of about 4 dollars. His is a perfect example of how journalism can be done on a shoestring. Methods Reporter runs on WordPress, the same, excellent free and open source software that’s the platform for this and many other blogs and news sites.