Many of us here use TweetDeck (install it here) as our desktop Twitter client. One of the interesting features is the live cloudview of twitter tags (you can also see this (here) at TwitScoop.com). Just a few minutes ago there was a small 3.0 earthquake in the centre of Los Angeles and it immediately lit up inside tweetdeck.
This is live news much faster than it will ever appear on syndicated publications. Another great reason to dive into twitter!