The Los Angeles Fire Department got out way ahead of other city departments years ago by blogging and using social media to get its news in the ears and eyes and minds of the public. Tonight the department has also tried streaming live video from the desk of public information office Brian Humphrey, who turns from his work pod beneath City Hall East to narrate what's going on and adds perspective for viewers. He's talking right now about a fire in a Craftsman-style home in the Pico-Normandie area and is adding nice detail on the risks of fighting that kind of fire and a little on the area's history. I don't know if LAFD TV will only operate during Humphrey's shifts, which has been a factor in some of the department's other media experiments, but it's interesting. (He says the stream will crank up during major incidents.) The stream is powered by UStream, which means that — like with real TV — there are ads.
Humphrey live on the web: No budget for social media in the LAFD...PIOs fix their own computers..."the workload is staggering"...public info office is down one PIO, so Humphrey and one other are working extra shifts...he says city residents deserve to get info straight from LAFD without the "broker" of the media...."we've got some other fun, fun things planned" once they get computer issues fixed...."there's just one body here working 24 hours straight....I've been up since about 4:30 [AM]."