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ICYMI

NewsOK.com has launched a secret weapon in earthquake coverage…

3:59 PM EDT on March 24, 2014

joleen chaney emily sutton earthquake 2

Back in November, we introduced the Oklahoma Earthquake Survival Guide. It provided a simple breakdown of what to do when the lake levels at Arcadia change and an earthquake strikes the Sooner state.

Here was the first step:

1a. Rush to Facebook and Twitter to make sure everyone knows you felt the earthquake, too

You don’t want everyone to think you’re one of those losers who didn’t feel the earthquake, do you? No, you do not. Make sure the first thing you do is get your social media and make sure everyone is aware that you, also, felt it. If you did not feel the earthquake, lie and pretend that you did.

However, it’s important you don’t sound too excited about the earthquake. Make sure your tweet is nonchalant enough that everyone knows you’re too cool for earthquake hysteria.

 1b. Rush to Facebook and Twitter and complain that you didn’t feel the earthquake…

Have you not felt any of the recent earthquakes? You’re probably not alone. If you want to feel the sensation, just stand by your sink and turn on the garbage disposal for a few seconds.

Well, I guess we can add a 1C to the list. That would be "Check out NewsOK.com to see if the earthquake you felt was an actually earthquake."

In what has to be the silliest thing The Oklahoman has done since Mr. Know It, NewsOK.com has launched a reporting system that will tell you almost instantaneously if the earthquake you felt was, uhm, actually an earthquake. It's called the Mega Earthquake Tracker 5000.

Okay, that's not really what it's called, but to help generate fear and get a sponsorship they should consider naming it that.

Via a Jenni Carlson column on NewsOK.com:

Did you feel that?

Was it the wind rattling the windows?

Did one of the kids slam a door?

Wait. That was an earthquake. Maybe.

How do you know?

Some go straight to Twitter or Facebook to confirm. Others go the U.S. Geological Survey website.

But NewsOK will be as fast as any of those sources. And it’s guaranteed to be accurate and understandable.

If the earth shook enough for you to look up from your iPad and ask the question, “What was that?” — NewsOK will have the answer to that question on the front page of its desktop website and its mobile site.

That’s a guarantee.

Just go to NewsOK and check it out.

We’re mapping every earthquake in Oklahoma registered above a 2.5 magnitude within 200 miles of Oklahoma City. It’s all on our earthquakes page.

And if it shook larger than 3.0, we’ll feature an alert at the top of the website — both on the desktop and on the mobile versions.

And it happens immediately. Try us.

As soon as you feel the quake, look us up. If it’s not on the home page, it wasn’t a big earthquake.

You can thank our development team for this new feature. It’s great to have programmers like Chris Logan and developers like Tim Watson who are trying to find ways to help our audience every day.

It helps that they are our audience. They follow our news and find solutions that can help. And they know that stories can’t be written as fast as the data is available.

So they narrowed that gap.

And they put it on a map.

First of all, that one sentence catastrophe of a news article wasn't actually a Jenni Carlson column. Fooled you, huh? It was actually written by apparent Jenni Carlson master impersonator and NewsOK.com digital editor Alan Herzberger. If it was intentionally written to parody Gundy's nemesis, it was genius. It had all the Jenni Carlson traits. It was boring to read, started with three questions, and ended with a cutesy little rhyme. I'm surprised he didn't go all out and just launch the Mega Earthquake Tracker 5000 via an open letter to NewsOK.com readers.

Anyway, this whole The Mega Earthquake Tracker 5000 seems kind of absurd and desperate. Trust me, I know how gaga Oklahomans (and the local media) get whenever they feel – or at least think they feel – an earthquake. For some reason, we can't control ourselves. We have to talk, write and sing about it. It's a phenomenon that's almost as strange as the earthquake outbreak itself.

That being said, doesn't this Mega Earthquake Tracker 5000 feed the beast more than actually provide useful news and information? If it was a minor earthquake, why even report it? Why does it need to be hyped into a big deal and get a special earthquake meter in scary red letters? It's not like Superman is flying off to rescue Lois Lane or anything.

If NewsOK.com really wanted to provide a valuable service to their readers, they'd either:

A) Investigate what's causing the earthquakes, or

B) Ignore the minor earthquakes all together

Then again, ignoring something that we're all obsessed with won't generate pageviews and help offset all the money the Oklahoman has lost due to dwindling subscriptions and advertising dollars. Hell, maybe we should take advantage of hysteria and launch our own earthquake tracker, too. Super Mega Earthquake Tracker 9000 has a nicer ring to it.

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