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Tsunami Story Hits Twitter and CNN, Washes Past Times

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About an hour after Twitter began surfacing reports of a 7.0-level earthquake strike off the coast of Okinawa in Japan and CNN placed the story at the top of the site, The New York Times has yet to place a story about the event on its homepage. As of this posting, the Times was still running a story about New York Governor David Paterson‘s announcement that he would not seek a full term as governor following a scandal that broke late Wednesday night. The Times has picked up a Reuters item filed at 4:11 p.m and an AP story filed at 5:08. The words “Okinawa” and “Tsunami” do not appear on the Times‘ front page. One iteration of “Earthquake” appears, in an unrelated story about buildings in Istambul that are vulnerable to tremors.

The earthquake struck at 3:31 p.m. EST, about 50 miles East of Okinawa. According to CNN, Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a recommendation that people head away from the coastline.

At 4:54, All Headline News reported that there was no significant damage from the earthquake and the tsunami warning had been lifted.

Did the Times show excellent editorial judgment by giving the story a higher placement, or did it let one get by them?

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