March 31, 2010
Moscow Bombings: Online Radio's Raw Response
BY Japhet Weeks
On Monday, March 29, when images began trickling in online from the suicide bomb attacks in the Moscow metro, my first thoughts were of my wife's parents, who live there. Then I thought of the producers at Podstantsiya, a small online radio outlet I'd discovered last winter during a reporting trip to Russia. I wondered what information they were providing about the deadliest terrorist attack in Russia in years.
It turns out I wasn't alone. Many Muscovites, hungry for news, desperate to find out if their friends or loved ones were alive, or simply trying to figure what route to take to work, went online.
State television was doing a poor job of reporting the events. Morning TV stuck to its usual schedule -- programs about redecorating your home and revamping your personal style. Meanwhile, Podstantsiya, which means "substation" in Russian, experienced a surge of visitors.
Part Flickr and part Public Radio Exchange (PRX), the online station is supported by a Russian NGO trying to improve independent radio journalism in Russia. You can download all of the content for free.
FRONTLINE/World asked two of Podstantsiya's reporters to record over webcam their impressions of the attacks and how they reported them. We combined their accounts into a short piece almost entirely comprised of images and sounds from their website.