11.4 IRC in Times of Crisis
Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet

Go to Table of Contents. Visit Gifcom.

     IRC has become a new medium for staying on top of really big
breaking news.  In 1993, when Russian lawmakers barricaded themselves
inside the parliament building, some enterprising Muscovites and a couple
of Americans set up a "news channel" on IRC to relay first-person
accounts direct from Moscow. The channel was set up to provide a
continuous loop of information, much like all-news radio stations that
cycle through the day's news every 20 minutes.  In 1994, Los Angeles
residents set up a similar channel to relay information related to the
Northridge earthquake.  In both cases, logs of the channels were archived
somewhere on the Net, for those unable to "tune in" live.
     How would you find such channels in the future?  Use the /list
command to scroll through the available channels.  If one has been set up
to discuss a particular breaking event, chances are you'll see a brief
description next to the channel name that will tell you that's the place
to tune.