As the news grew into a global headline, Phil Paoletta, an expat based in Bamako, offered some advice for those just tuning in. "Anyone paying attention to #Mali for the first time-pls know that there is a lot more to this country than what you will read+see+hear today," he tweeted.
Indeed, Mali, until yesterday, had been one of the most stable and successful democracies in Africa, complete with free and abundant – though not always professional – media. In fact, the last time the Committee to Protect Journalists documented an attack on the Malian media was 2007.
The unexpected unrest prompted demands for reliable and contextual information. Mike Sefanov, a senior editor at Storyful, jumped on citizen reporter photos of the streets of Bamako and sought to contact their authors. "Hello, is this your photo? Did you take it yourself? Can the news networks use your photos of Bamako?" he tweeted to @ofalsen.