chapter  11
Social Media and Journalism during Times of Crisis
ByAxel Bruns
Pages 18

Around lunchtime on February 22, 2011, the New Zealand city of Christchurchthe country’s second largest city-was hit by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. Built on a geological fault line, like Los Angeles and Tokyo, Christchurch is no stranger to tremors; indeed, it had experienced a magnitude 7.1 quake just months before, in September 2010, and technically, this new earthquake was no more than an aftershock of the earlier tremor. That earlier quake had caused signifi cant structural damage, but no fatalities, but the February earthquake was different: with its epicenter located no more than ten kilometers from the Christchurch city center, at a depth of only fi ve kilometers, it proved considerably more destructive-and it affected buildings whose structural integrity had already been severely compromised by the September quake, in the middle of a weekday when schools and city offi ces would have been fully occupied. While the full death toll has yet to be determined, it is estimated at close to two hundred.