Hurricane Sandy Takes Down Huffington Post, Gawker, BuzzFeed

Large U.S. websites including The Huffington Post, Gawker, Gizmodo and BuzzFeed experienced outages on Tuesday after a Manhattan data center apparently lost power due to Hurricane Sandy.

Big name websites Gawker, Gizmodo, The Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed experienced outages on early Tuesday after a Manhattan data center apparently lost power due to Hurricane Sandy. Photo: Lisa Bettany/Flickr

The digital media is abuzz with updates on Sandy, the worst storm to hit the U.S. east coast in decades. Recognizing the enormous demand for news on the hurricane, news websites are putting out as much as information and news as possible, mostly on the fly.

However, many people looking for the latest updates on Hurricane Sandy early Tuesday morning were disappointed to find some of the top news websites, including The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Gawker Media websites were themselves victims of Sandy, reports Mashable.

All these websites are hosted by Datagram, an internet service provider and web hosting operation based in New York.

“We are continuing to battle flooding and fiber outages in downtown New York and Connecticut,” a notice posted on Datagram’s website said. “Verizon and other carriers in the area are down as well. Generators are unable to pump fuel due to the flooding in the basements.”

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post set up a limited-function version of its site with the following message to readers: “Due to power outages caused by Superstorm Sandy, our own website is experiencing technical difficulties.”

“We are working around the clock to get the site back to normal. The news team, which has offices around the U.S. and in other countries, is still monitoring everything and will be updating this page with the latest on the storm. We will also update our social media accounts.”

All Gawker Media websites, including Gizmodo and Lifehacker, were down. “Gawker is temporarily down because the 57th Street Crane just flooded our servers with sea foam, or something. Back with you shortly,” Gawker said in a tweet.

BuzzFeed, a fast-growing website known for its quirky content that spreads quickly online, had gone down earlier but was back online with limited functionality.

“Elements of BuzzFeed’s site and many story pages are back online, thanks to a Content Delivery Network, Akamai, which hosts the content at servers distributed around the world,” the company said in a post.  However, Tuesday early morning, none of BuzzFeed‘s content was accessible.

Sandy, which was especially imposing because of its wide-raging winds, brought a record surge of almost 14 feet (4.2 meters) to downtown Manhattan, well above the previous record of 10 feet (3 meters) during Hurricane Donna in 1960, the National Weather Service said.

The Hurricane Sandy coverage has also seen unique efforts by The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, reports Live Mint. Both suspended the paywalls on their websites as well as apps on Sunday afternoon as people turned to computers, tablets and phones for regular updates on Sandy.

The New York Times kept its paywall up for Osama Bin Laden’s death coverage but gave full access for Irene hurricane coverage last August. The New York Times has installed a webcam at the 51st floor of the New York Times building, which is providing a live feed of images as the storm moves through the city.

Raju Narisetti, managing director of the WSJ Digital Network, tweeted “In addition to comprehensive #Sandy coverage available now, all of http://wsj.com will be open to all visitors on Monday October 29.”

Social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, have also got into the act and are generating millions of conversations. According to a blog post by Radian6, a social media analytics company, Sandy has generated over 4 million mentions across Facebook and Twitter. Both the networks have become important in keeping in touch with family and friends and disseminating critical information.

Twitter has been at the center of all the #Sandy mentions since that has been the top trending topic worldwide throughout the weekend. Sadly, it also fell prey to a lot of fake news that was circulated by users tweeting about things which did not really happen.

The photo-sharing site Instagram, now a part of Facebook, is the hotbed of every #Sandy in pictures. According to a report by Poynter, the website of the eponymous journalism institute, Instagram users are uploading 10 Hurricane Sandy pictures every 10 seconds.

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