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Sizing up earthquake damage: Differing points of view

January 1, 2007

When a catastrophic event strikes an urban area, many different professionals hit the ground running. Emergency responders respond, reporters report, and scientists and engineers collect and analyze data. Journalists and scientists may share interest in these events, but they have very different missions. To a journalist, earthquake damage is news. To a scientist or engineer, earthquake damage represents a valuable source of data that can help us understand how strongly the ground shook as well as how particular structures responded to the shaking.