The combination of mobile devices and social media also have the potential to transform coverage of a disaster into a new hybrid that combines the best of professional journalism and web-enabled "citizen journalism." 
Because the emergent behavior discussed earlier is commonplace in disasters, this hybrid form will be referred to in the remainder of this document as "emergent journalism." 
It is the social aspect of the new media that would facilitate this change: as organizations that have begun using wikis internally have found, when there is a platform that allows people who have a wide range of background, experience and perspective to contribute and share information, what results is a whole that is more than the sum of its parts: a combination of interchange, debate, and removal of arbitrary distinctions about the value of anyone's contributions based on their position leads to a synthesis and new insights that no individual, no matter how bright or experienced, could have come up with.
Perhaps the most vivid example of this phenomenon is Intellipedia, the secure wiki established in the wake of 9/11 to allow "flatter" sharing of data within the intelligence community. It uses the same open-source software used by Wikipedia, allowing intelligence analysts to share information through the federal government's classified Intelink intranet site. While most Intellipedia use is never seen by the public, one example of the platform's ability to quickly share and evaluate information was when New York Yankees pitcher Corry Liddle's plane crashed into an apartment building. Analysts from a variety of agencies issued 80 information updates within two hours, including a finding that it was not a terrorist attack. 
Most examinations of "citizen journalism" to date have examined it as a phenomenon that is distinct from the work done by professional journalists, but what if public radio stations could actually integrate this crowdsourced information with its own resources, and if there was actual dialogue with the contributors? That could result in a new kind of coverage similar to the emergent behavior that the researchers have documented in disaster response: "emergent journalism."
This would seem particularly relevant in a disaster, when a station's news staff, no matter what the size, would be quickly overwhelmed by the volume of information, and, in many cases, the need to monitor a wide geographic area.
Don't forget that, even if they have never met in the physical world, many of your listeners may already know each other through social networks that may range from Twitter to the comment streams on your station's website.
When a disaster happens, the social media don't just allow emergent behavior to happen, they actually foster it, because these virtual communities instantly spring into action, and are able to act collaboratively even more rapidly than we've seen strangers do in past disasters. Reliable leaders who consistently provide valuable information (researchers term them "High Yield Twitterers"  ) may have already been identified and are looked to by others while some may be quite happy to simply repeat information to their own networks, etc. Each plays a role. And, as disaster researcher Leysia Palen points out, members of these virtual social networks who may be thousands of miles from the disaster often contribute valuable information as well. 
Analyses of crowdsourced information using social media in past disasters has shown that much of the information gathered and shared through these social networks is the classic who, what, when, why and how that trained journalists contribute. 
However, what won't happen in a vacuum will be these citizen journalists automatically observing principles of traditional journalism, such as attributing sources or recording significant details that would enrich the coverage.
The challenge is for public radio stations to reach out to their members/listeners who might be interested in providing such information in a disaster, and jointly to develop guidelines and procedures for collecting and submitting this information. In addition, they can jointly explore ways that dialogue through the social media can help both parties work together, under extremely difficult circumstances, to create reliable and informative coverage that would combine the best elements of traditional and crowdsourced  journalism. Having done that, the framework will be in place for "emergent journalism" to occur during a disaster.
The remainder of this document will outline suggested principles and best practices for an emergent journalism initiative (should you choose to launch one at your station); evaluate how various mobile devices and social media applications could be used to gather and distribute valuable information in a disaster; and consider some of the issues that need to be addressed collaboratively for an effective program to result.
 The distinction between a citizen journalism program and "emergent journalism" as visualized here is that the latter would try to actually synthesize the contributions of citizen and professional journalists instead of offering them as parallel sources of information.
 Sarah Vieweg, Amanda L. Hughes, Kate Starbird, & Leysia Palen. Oklahoma Grassfires & Red River Floods. connectivIT Lab, Technology, Media & Society Program (ATLAS) Computer Science Department University of Colorado, Boulder CO. Proceedings of the 28th international conference on Human factors in computing systems, 2010.
 Vieweg, Hughes, Starbird & Palen, op. cit.
 Crowdsourcing refers to the practice of inviting the public to perform a task (such as news gathering) normally done by employees and/or trained specialists.