Webmail: Now Delivering Your Local Breaking News

Tonight with lightening striking all around I was watching weather on the local cable news station after just returning home from work when I saw a familiar interface I wouldn't normally expect to see on TV, the Internet Explorer web browser.

I snapped this picture with my digital camera while standing in front of the TV. But what was most interesting was that it wasn't being shown for the purpose of displaying a website but instead to display a photo that had just been submitted by a local weather spotter.

The browser URL read http://webmail. at the front and it displayed a standard image expansion icon in the lower right corner which indicated that the image was being resized by the browser to fit within the window. This meant that the news station had received the photo via email and was viewing the message online through a webmail application and was then going directly to live TV from the computer screen.


I think I was even surprised at my level of excitement in seeing this. Here's where my mind went as I immediately began to process what I was watching.

In the world of professional breaking TV news over cable networks the best technology they could use to bring real images from the front line to my TV was... email and email attachments? Somehow I felt shorthanded by WRAL.

In reality, if I were just on an email list or RSS feed that was being fed content from the local weather spotters themselves I would have received an identical quality communication before WRAL could ever have hoped to show it to me on my TV. Thus, the difference in technological sophistication and speed-to-broadcast between my personal communication devices (mobile phone, laptop, etc) and WRAL news was now gone.