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Friday, August 29, 2014

Oklahoman's Earthquake Experience Dutifully Recorded By Hometown Paper

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 1:30 PM

click to enlarge The chandelier kept swaying...
  • The chandelier kept swaying...
For most San Franciscans, Sunday morning's Napa earthquake was not the stuff of legendary tales. We woke up, realized it was an earthquake, and, while pondering what the hell to do, the shaking stopped.

Then we checked Twitter.

That's what Talbot Cox did, too. But he didn't just get himself a story. He got a news story.

The 21-year-old visiting Oklahoman's narrative was written up in The Oklahoman. It was dutifully reported that Cox woke up, felt some shaking, and checked Twitter. “Twitter was exploding with tweets,” he told the paper. His hotel, like every structure in San Francisco, was undamaged “but a chandelier continued to sway for some time,” reports The Oklahoman.

The paper goes on to report that, following the quake, Cox reports that TV stations reported on the damage, and beamed images of it onto TV.

It all seems rather twee. But, in essence, this is how far-off events are covered in local news reports. Plane crashes, political upheaval, or natural disasters are viewed through the scope of residents who experienced them. Any number of ephemeral local stories are, inevitably, prioritized over the deaths of 1,000 Bangladeshi miners or electoral choices of 1,000,000,000 Indian voters.

That's a bit unsettling. But, reassuringly for San Franciscans, Cox says “tornadoes are scarier than earthquakes.” 

Per the man himself: "I guess the fact that you know tornadoes are coming, it’s hard to describe. They’re both deadly. They’re both natural disasters."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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