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Earth Hour provides case study for media writing class

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When I checked Twitter on my iPhone this morning, I found non-stop twittering about today’s Earth Hour, which challenges everyone to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8:30 p.m.

The tweets are filled with individual pledges, reports of people playing board games by candlelight, and photos of lighted and then darkened buildings. Twitter offer a way of following Earth Hour events and personal activities as the 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. time circles the globe.

I tweeted my students to follow #earthhour.

In Multimedia Writing, we’re in the middle of a reporting assignment where students are to find a story topic with an environmental, health, science or technology angle and then report on it. Today’s Earth Hour provides a great case study for the students to see literally hundreds of such stories.

Girl Scouts is tracking how many members are observing Earth Hour. A campaign beyond the one hour is to replace standard light bulbs with more energy-efficient light bulbs.

The National Hockey League is asking teams to scale back on energy usage in their arenas during games today. But that’s just the start of hockey teams trying to be more green.

Dr. Suess’ The Lorax had pledged to turn his mustache green today if 500 kids promised to turn off their lights.

Earth Hour also provides an example of how organizations and individuals can generate their own coverage and advertise their own events without requiring “legacy” media to get the word out. Blogs, Twitter, Flickr, Pininterest, Facebook and websites are carrying the news.

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