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  1. 1. Hurricane Katrina: Effective and Ineffective Coverage of a Crisis By: Danielle Haskin, Lindsay Hurd, Ariana Katzman, Elliot Polakoff and Allison Stein
  2. 2. Reporting Prior to Katrina
  3. 3. What Does Effective/Ineffective Reporting Prior to the Crisis Do? <ul><li>Effective: </li></ul><ul><li>Explains past Hurricane damage </li></ul><ul><li>Cites reliable sources </li></ul><ul><li>Explores the construction of the levees </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages evacuation and knows that a worse storm will happen </li></ul><ul><li>Ineffective: </li></ul><ul><li>Makes the threat of hurricanes seem small </li></ul><ul><li>Happy and safe tone, focusing more on the positives aspects of the city </li></ul>
  4. 4. Prior Coverage: Effective <ul><li>Hurricane Ivan: Nature weekly journal September 23 rd , 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>-Information from Ivor van Heerden and other scientists are the main content </li></ul><ul><li>-Explains the issues with the levee construction </li></ul>
  5. 5. Prior News Coverage: Effective <ul><li>U.S News & World Report on Tropical Storm Cindy: July 18 th , 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>-Predicts a even worse storm to come </li></ul><ul><li>- “non-evacuation culture” </li></ul><ul><li>-Explains why New Orleans is vulnerable </li></ul><ul><li>Both highlight that another storm, that is even worse, is bound to happen </li></ul>
  6. 6. Prior News Coverage: Effective <ul><li>Times-Picayune: November 16 th , 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>Levee Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Explains the cost and length project </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits and why needed </li></ul><ul><li>Vulnerabilities of the current levees </li></ul>
  7. 7. Prior News Coverage: Ineffective <ul><li>Special to The New York Times: New Orleans Journal: Aug. 30, 1992 </li></ul><ul><li>-No mention of the damage done to other cities from hurricane Andrew </li></ul><ul><li>-Main focus is Café du Monde and the French Quarter </li></ul><ul><li>-Know that a dangerous storm is coming, but nothing on what to do/could be done </li></ul>
  8. 8. Reporting DURING the Crisis (August 25-August 31 2005)
  9. 9. <ul><li>Effective Coverage: </li></ul><ul><li>-Informs citizens on how to evacuate </li></ul><ul><li>-Informs citizens outside the area about the magnitude of the hurricane and how they can help </li></ul><ul><li>-Compares Katrina to past hurricanes so citizens understand how bad a hurricane it is </li></ul><ul><li>Ineffective Coverage: </li></ul><ul><li>-Jumps to conclusion that we “dodged a bullet” with Katrina </li></ul><ul><li>-Shows images but does not give a lot of information </li></ul><ul><li>-More about getting awe out of audience for rating than about actually informing people </li></ul>
  10. 10. Effective Reporting <ul><li>NY Daily News: August 29, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gave detailed information about evacuation plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explained the potential impact Katrina could have </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Referenced old Hurricanes: Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Camille, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gave the Hurricane scale and explained what each level actually means </li></ul></ul><ul><li>&quot;The storm surge will most likely topple our levee system,&quot; the mayor predicted grimly. That would turn New Orleans into a bowl filled with up to 35 feet of fetid water, laced with sewage, oils and toxic chemicals, that may not drain for months.” </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>PR Newswire US: August 30, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MSNBC.com: &quot;When an event like Hurricane Katrina occurs, we want to offer our consumers a news experience with sight, sound and motion in addition to written word,&quot; said Charlie Tillinghast, General Manager and Publisher for MSNBC.com. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They offered photo slideshows updated with photos from the day, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactive hurricane tracker </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizen journalism, which offered collected reports from citizens in the region </li></ul></ul>Effective Reporting
  12. 12. <ul><li>TWC Hurricane Katrina coverage: August 27 & 28 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Weather Channel executed effective reporting on during the hurricane by explaining what it means for the people in the region that Katrina is labeled as a category 5 hurricane and by giving information regarding the traffic as a result of the evacuation routes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZw5HVy1x </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg6MhGCfPRg </li></ul>Effective Reporting
  13. 13. Ineffective Reporting <ul><li>NY TIMES: August 28, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pictures of New Orleans Residents boarding up stores and evacuating </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No actual information other than citizens evacuating, more about the image attracting readership then the actual content. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>NY Daily News: August 30, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporters from CNN such as Brian Andrews “acted like a little kid playing war games- crouching for cover behind a sidewalk mailbox , then running for shelter” (David Bianculli, Daily News ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anderson Cooper and Campbell Brown were standing outside as well and reported much of the same thing and looked “silly” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CNN Coverage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_12WDZXeys </li></ul></ul>Ineffective Reporting
  15. 15. Reporting After Katrina (August 31 st , 2005 –preset)
  16. 16. Effective Reporting After Hurricane Katrina <ul><li>Effective Journalism Tactics Included: </li></ul><ul><li>An appropriate balance between important facts and opinions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The piece shouldn’t overload the reader with too many unnecessary facts, nor should it omit them altogether </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Including facts that fit well with opinions makes the writing more fluid and has more of an impact </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Captivating Writing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The writer should make sure that the information is presented in a way that will interest the reader and spark a desire to learn more. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An Opening paragraph to a NYT article: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Despair, privation, and violent lawlessness grew so extreme in New Orleans on Thursday that the flooded cities mayor issued a “desperate SOS” and other local officials, describing the security situation as horrific, lambasted the federal government as responding too slowly to the disaster.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Effective Reporting After Hurricane Katrina <ul><li>Effective Tactics Continued: </li></ul><ul><li>Relevant Images and Diagrams </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Diagrams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Diagrams are an effective way to show the damage done to the city because they help the reader to understand the catastrophe differently than from a photo. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Diagrams show more technicalities and are used to explain the facts in the article. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>*http://proquest.umi.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/pqdweb?did=1173947652&sid=1&Fmt=10&clientId=17822&RQT=309&VName=HNP </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Images </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many images of Katrina evoke intense emotion amongst viewers: they have the power to tell an entire story. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The image of a policeman trying to control thousands of stranded civilians helps the reader to visualize the catastrophe. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Likewise, the image of a young boy sitting on top of rubble, hand on his forehead has infinite implications for the reader. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Articles that include images or diagrams or both were more effective-- they helped make the crisis tangible to the reader. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Imagery
  19. 19. Effective Reporting After Hurricane Katrina <ul><li>Effective Tactics Continued: </li></ul><ul><li>Presenting Relief Efforts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An article that provides information on relief efforts should present clear strategies to the reader, often the use of bullets or lists with descriptions is most effective. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The article should talk to both those in need of help and those looking to provide help. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The writer should omit personal opinions from a piece that focuses on relief efforts as it should be more informative over entertaining. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A good article written on relief efforts should not be overwhelming, often those that were more succinct were more useful to readers. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use of Relative and Credible Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is important to include the views of other citizens when reporting a story but those who are interviewed must have a relative connection to the crisis. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A NYT article, “ Rotting Food, Dirty Water, And Heat Add to Problems , looks to sources such as “the director of emergency management for Harrison County” as well as a doctor who directs the emergency room at an effected hospital. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>These sources make the article stronger because of their relevance to the subject. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Ineffective Reporting After the Hurricane: </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptions of the devastating aftermath of the hurricane on New Orleans </li></ul><ul><li>and surrounding areas were helpful and informative to a certain extent, but </li></ul><ul><li>they did little to create any senses of hope and optimism in various </li></ul><ul><li>communities. The same could be said of reports that focused on individuals </li></ul><ul><li>and their struggles during/after Katrina. </li></ul><ul><li>Andy Kelly’s September 6th 2005 Liverpool Daily Post article: </li></ul><ul><li>-details the personal struggles of the Scott family to survive </li></ul><ul><li>-non-stop criticism of local authorities and relief efforts </li></ul><ul><li>-near-death experiences for all individuals portrayed </li></ul><ul><li>- All of these article traits make Katrina’s effects seem slightly unrealistic, </li></ul><ul><li>even considering the extreme magnitude of the hurricane. </li></ul><ul><li>-It seems likely that this report could be misleading due to the fact that at </li></ul><ul><li>best it only accurately depicts a small area and population affected by the </li></ul><ul><li>hurricane. </li></ul><ul><li>While these forms of journalism may have spoken to others’ cries for </li></ul><ul><li>help, they often times did not permit the casual reader to feel as associated </li></ul><ul><li>with the hurricane and its’ aftermath. </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Ineffective Reporting Continued: </li></ul><ul><li>It is also necessary for post-Katrina coverage to cover the most socially relevant elements of the hurricane so that the general public is able to process the critical information and most optimally contribute to the restoration process. Obviously, these are open to interpretation, but the most important quality of crisis journalism is that it should leave the reader accurately informed. </li></ul><ul><li>Ed James September 17th Liverpool Daily Post : “Hurricane Katrina: The Aftermath: Return to city starts next week”: </li></ul><ul><li>-produces an initial sense of attempting to describe a new post-hurricane community by describing Mayor Ray Nagin’s proposed plans for New Orleans… </li></ul><ul><li>-but his arguments quickly lose substance as they are not backed up with much substantial information. </li></ul><ul><li>-Article generates nearly as much speculation as fact, with phrases like “The move [reopening parts of the city] could bring back more than 180,000 of the city’s original half-million residents”. </li></ul><ul><li>-Backs up speculation with irrelevant or illegitimate sources, like a strip club owner. </li></ul><ul><li>-Sources like this don’t represent the majority of the affected community, and thus fail to reassure general public that meaningful change is on the way for New Orleans. </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Another way that post-Katrina reporting was often inefficient was in that even </li></ul><ul><li>if it educated the general public, it never took the time to focus on the most </li></ul><ul><li>pressing issues pertaining to social reconstruction. </li></ul><ul><li>Bill Walsh October 22nd, New Orleans Times-Picayune , “Plan would let </li></ul><ul><li>president take control in disasters: Proposal may be seen as slap at Blanco”: </li></ul><ul><li>-Examines relationship between Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, the </li></ul><ul><li>President, and federal organizations like Federal Emergency Management </li></ul><ul><li>Agency (FEMA) in relation to who should intervene in restoring and aiding </li></ul><ul><li>the hurricane region. </li></ul><ul><li>-Article ultimately appears as inefficient not due to its’ misleading nature </li></ul><ul><li>like previous articles, but due to the fact that it specifically focuses on </li></ul><ul><li>nitpicking at who should be in control for controlling communities affected </li></ul><ul><li>by natural disasters. </li></ul><ul><li>-While it is important for the public to know who is in charge, more focus </li></ul><ul><li>should be on what is being done or what needs to be done, not who is </li></ul><ul><li>doing it. This way, current and future conflicts can be examined, and </li></ul><ul><li>potentially avoided. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Finally, for much of the general public, picture are able to leave more </li></ul><ul><li>of a lasting image than any number of eloquently phrased statements </li></ul><ul><li>could ever do. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, any time that a picture was misrepresented in portraying what </li></ul><ul><li>was actually happening after Katrina, it had the potential to even </li></ul><ul><li>further distance the general public from the reality of Katrina’s </li></ul><ul><li>aftermath. </li></ul>