Hudson River plane crash photo was first a Twitter message

The picture is not perfect. A little blurry. Big smudges.

Looks a bit like somebody took a dirty rag to a piece of Plexiglas, which might, in fact, be what happened. Next time a plane goes down in the Hudson River and some guy on a ferry snaps off The Big Moment from his iPhone, let's hope the boat has clean windows.

Plus, there's some dead space, the kind of dark nothingness one trims off a family snapshot before putting it into an album. Not that the designers are complaining: Dead space -- in this case an expanse of frigid river water -- makes an excellent backdrop for bold type to pull in the readers (not to be confused with tweeters, who don't need pulling in, since they are already there).

The Charlotte Observer splashed the photo over six columns with the dead space put to good use as a marquee for the must-read headline: ''Miracle on the Hudson.'' The Los Angeles Times put it at the top of its front page, and Time magazine even used it inside its commemorative issue otherwise dedicated to the inauguration of the nation's 44th president, who appears on the cover with his hand on the Lincoln Bible.

So just how, exactly, did a 23-year-old tourist from Sarasota, Fla., a fledgling entrepreneur named Janis Krums, wind up in a slew of preeminent print publications with the most important spot news image of the day?


He twittered it.

The shot seen 'round the world -- in minutes

You only get 140 characters on Twitter -- a sentence or two -- so he had to write tight.

This is what he said, tapping the text into his cellphone:

"There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.''

And it was.

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