Blogs and the Los Angeles Times race to cover today's earthquake

Here’s a smattering of coverage in the hours following the 5.4-magnitude earthquake in southern California. Who wins, the Los Angeles Times or a collection of L.A.-area blogs? Check it out:

11:42:15 a.m. (PDT): The earthquake hits, and it’s initially labeled a 5.8 on the Richter scale. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), it occurred four km (three miles) WSW of Chino Hills, CA.

11:43 a.m.: Jozjozjoz, a user on, an aggregate of area blogs, posts the news real quick, with a map from the USGS.

11:45 a.m.: The Los Angeles Fire Department blog throws up a post about safety, including what to do in the event of aftershocks.

Also at 11:45 a.m.: LAObserved gets its post up about the quake, with details on the epicenter coordinates, courtesy of USGS.

11:46 a.m.: LA Weekly links to USGS, calling the quake a 5.8.

11:53 a.m.: The Times server is reported dead. Defamer gets a screen shot. LA Observed and CBS5’s Eye on Blogs, in the Bay Area, note it as well. The latter also has steady updates for the first couple of hours. (Lightbulb thought: Check surrounding area blogs whose Web traffic may not be as frantic.)

11:55a.m.: The first comment on LAist reads: “rock n roll!”

11:57 a.m.: Defamer gets around to it, writing, “We interrupt your daily nonsense feed to report an earthquake,” and noting that both landlines and cell phones are down.

11:58 a.m.: LA Observed posts info about cell phone interruptions.

12:01 p.m.: The Times server must be back up. Its first user comment reads: “Felt it in San Diego UP Down not as destructive.”

12:05p.m.: First notice of the quake from the Times appears in my Google Reader, and it’s just details from USGS. There’s a ticker about it across the top of the home page.

12:06p.m.: The Times posts its first story, adding details (first about some evacuations and responses from officials, then some “person-on-the-street” responses) over the next couple of hours.

12:20 p.m.: Defamer has already moved on to Jon Voight’s “Screw Obama” op-ed in the Washington Times.

12:35 p.m.: LA Observed adds an update to its post, noting that the quake has been downgraded to a magnitude of 5.4, down from 5.8.

(For the first hour, SFist doesn’t do such a shabby job either, laying out the updates briefly and clearly, using a combination of CBS, Twitter and LAist. Oh my.)

12:57 p.m.: LA Weekly has a blurb about cell phone outages in the hour or so following the quake.

1:15 p.m.: LA Weekly posts an update from the courthouse, where convicted triple murderer Timothy McGhee was testifying on the stand when the quake rolled in.

1:24p.m.: The Times posts an article about cell and landline phone outages, complete with warnings from the state to cut back on calls to allow potential 911 calls to go through. User comments on its site are still pouring in—the count is up to 872. There’s video now, too.

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Jane Kim is a writer in New York.