Monday, March 29, 2010

Media coverage of Katrina

When Hurricane Katrina struck during my sophomore year of high school, my class was in the middle of doing a project examining news coverage by various television stations at differing times. I remember my teacher was frustrated because all of a sudden all the news stations only talked about Katrina, making our experiment more difficult. However, I was covering Fox News at 5's local coverage, and I recall being shocked by how little they brought up Katrina compared to all the other news stations my classmates covered. I suppose they felt it did not affect the local DC metropolitan residents greatly, and thus was not local news worthy...

Remembering this made me want to do some quick googling of media coverage of Katrina, and what I found was that only Wikipedia seems to confront the issue head on. The article discusses the racism in the media coverage in that blacks were reported as "looting" supplies while whites were "finding" supplies. In a short article, it also confronts the issue of misrepresentations of rape and murder, which actually impended relief and rescue efforts.

While the news on occasion played a negative role in the disaster, it also greatly helped in bringing attention to the issue and in helping family members locate each other.

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