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An In-Depth Look At News Coverage Of: Hurricane Katrina


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An In-Depth Look At News Coverage Of: Hurricane Katrina

  1. 1. Kori Valentine Peter Martin Amy Joseph Arielle Mellen Terra Neukam
  2. 2. PRIOR TO KATRINA Trend #1: Less popular forms of media had stronger media coverage
  3. 3. WHAT WAS EFFECTIVE? <ul><li>Engineering News Record - September 27, 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Predictions of more frequent big storms hitting the U.S. in the next decades could challenge existing construction techniques, building codes and evacuation procedures” </li></ul><ul><li>Hurricane Ivan and the devastation to Florida </li></ul><ul><li>Explores the bigger picture (Louisiana, Mississippi) </li></ul>
  4. 4. WHAT WAS EFFECTIVE? <ul><ul><ul><li>“ The city’s levee system is adequate for 90% to 95% of likely storms. ‘It's the other five to 10% that scare me,’ senior project manager.” (on Louisiana) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure improvements needed </li></ul><ul><li>Written by seven prominent journalists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. Tom Sawyer, Richard Korman… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Credibility </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Objective information </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Variety of sources: Engineers, city officials, etc. </li></ul>
  5. 5. WHAT WAS INEFFECTIVE? <ul><li>HURRICANE ANDREW ; Down to the Basics: Hunting For Food, Water and Shelter </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The New York Times – August 26, 1992 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus on Miami’s response only </li></ul><ul><li>Does not explore the bigger picture </li></ul>
  6. 6. DURING KATRINA Trend #2: Coverage from mainstream media was vague immediately before and after Hurricane Katrina first hit; It seemed as if the mainstream media made light of the situation. <ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporters were not knowledgeable enough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Miscommunications </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. WHAT WAS INEFFECTIVE? <ul><li>The Times Picayune Issues Hurricane Watch - August 27, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Southeast Louisiana certainly has a good chance of landfall or at least feeling the effects of Katrina…There could be some topping of levees” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The storm moved west at about 7 mph and was expected to take a gradual turn west-northwest through the early afternoon. Landfall is expected early Monday.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>CNN News Coverage </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focuses on the problems, not how people can help </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stories of individuals who cannot communicate with outside world </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No mention of programs that have been set up to aid these people </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. INEFFECTIVE <ul><li>CNN Weather Report - August 29, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instilling panic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making light of the situation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>&quot;I don't want to alarm anyone that New Orleans is filling up like a bowl.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The New York Times - August 31, 2005 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Treaster, J. & Kleinfield, N. (2005). New Orleans is inundated as 2 levees fail; much of gulf coast is crippled; toll rises. The New York Times, pp . 1A . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorrect source </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Michael Brown (FEMA) vs. David Vitter (LA Senator) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. WHAT WAS EFFECTIVE? <ul><li>NPR- August 28, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Joe Suhayda: Potential to be “flooding up until midpoint of second story building in the French Quarter” because New Orleans is below sea level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why is this effective? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expert vs. citizen was on-site reporting </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Brings in outside knowledge </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Levees are only strong enough to withhold a Category 3 storm and this has become a Category 5” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Listener realizes what is actually going </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No sugarcoating details </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clear that this is not an average storm </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. DURING KATRINA Trend #3: It isn’t until the event actually happens that it becomes news; nobody knows until it is too late. <ul><li>Mainstream media started to accurately report on Katrina once it had already hit (August 30 th ) </li></ul>
  11. 11. WHAT WAS EFFECTIVE <ul><li>City a Woeful Scene, The Times Picayune - August 30, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reaches out to help every citizen (locally AND nationally) understand what has happened and the current situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why levees failed to protect </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Extent of the damage </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Looting problem and resulting danger </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Authority response (ex: what are police officers doing to help) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. WHAT WAS EFFECTIVE? <ul><li>New Orleans is Now Off Limits; Pentagon Joins in Relief Effort, The New York Times - August 31, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Detailed overview of situation in New Orleans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why damage is so bad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Steps national government has taken </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. After the Crisis <ul><li>Trend #4: Most news is effective and extremely informative in the time following the crisis. </li></ul>
  14. 14. AFTER THE CRISIS <ul><li>Political Storm Brewing Over Katrina Disaster, The Times Picayune - Septemberm 3, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Government and FEMA admit they were unprepared </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answers to “What went wrong?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives answers that the entire nation needs to know </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. WHAT WAS EFFECTIVE? <ul><li>News sources caught onto effective reporting trends = Effective Reporting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What happened? How did it all happen? What went wrong? What is currently happening? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Main topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Government response </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relief efforts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Prevention measures for future </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How to help </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Articles more narrowly focused </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Detail on specific topic vs. overview of situation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: Local papers focused on means of survival—where to get food, numbers to call </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. WHAT WAS INEFFECTIVE? <ul><li>Majority effective, but still some examples of ineffective </li></ul><ul><li>Hurricane Dealt Blow to Popularity of Katrina as Baby Name , The New York Times, May 13, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Katie Couric News Clip </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this credible? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Based on her opinions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comments from unknown sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ This source said…” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. RECAP <ul><li>Prior to Katrina </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-mainstream sources (i.e. NPR, Engineering and Contracting News) provided more useful information that mainstream media never focused on </li></ul></ul><ul><li>During Katrina </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainstream media started to accurately report on Katrina once it had already hit (August 30 th ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It isn’t until an event actually happens that it becomes news </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>After Katrina </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most news seemed to be effective and informative </li></ul></ul>