Katrina Takes Aim: The Coverage of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

Here’s the link to my project:¬†Katrina

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8 thoughts on “Katrina Takes Aim: The Coverage of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

  1. Hi Sarah, we may have just met this year, but I think we also met in a past life. I had no idea the Times-Picayune never ceased publication of online editions during Hurricane Katrina. I feel like that really demonstrates the commitment of journalists to their profession and there will to keep providing news to those who need it most.

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    1. Interestingly, the Sun-Herald in Biloxi, which took the brunt of the hurricane, kept printing every day. The newspapers were produced in Columbus, Ga., at a sister Knight-Ridder newspaper, and trucked in to the Biloxi-Gulfport area. (As you no doubt know, it was the levee breach, not the direct hurricane hit that caused such devastation in New Orleans. The Mississippi Gulf Coast took the direct hit.) Of course, the Sun-Herald’s readers were not in their homes, so they just took the newspapers to evacuation centers and gave them away. Stan Tiner, the editor, used to say (maybe he still does) that you can sell a lot of papers when you give them away.

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  2. The opening of your paper definitely made me want to read on. I like that you started with something a little more personal before jumping right into the information. You addressed two of the most pressing issues that arises from this type of situation: separating emotion from journalism and the threat of danger. It’s something that people don’t typically think about when they discuss Katrina, but it’s definitely an interesting part of it. Loved your post.

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  3. This was a very interesting read. I just have a couple questions about The Times-Picayune. You mentioned that 240 people were evacuated from their offices due to rising flood waters. Did the building sustain significant damage from the storm? Also, how long did it take after the storm for them to begin releasing printed copies of the newspaper again?

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  4. I was really interested in your analysis of The Times-Picayune. Like you and many others, as a nine year old at the time, my view of this devastating natural disaster was so skewed from the rest of the world’s. But I’m realizing now that I’m still continuing to truly realize the effects. Though I knew people were reporting on this event, it had never really sunk in that these reporters, like you said, were reporting their own lives. It’s amazing how dedicated and almost heroic these people were. It’s eye-opening, even in 2014.

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  5. I was interested when you talked about specific journalists, photographers and editors staying in New Orleans after the rest of the Times-Picayune’s staff left the city on August 30th. Do you know if these employees were paid more for their troubles? Were they afraid of their choices to stay in the city, or were they asked to stay by their bosses in order to cover the storm? I don’t think I’d be able to stay knowing a storm was coming! The story would have to wait!

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  6. I thought your interpretation of the media coverage of Katrina was particularly interesting because of the account in the beginning you included. Although I didn’t have tons of family stay with me, I did feel the effects of having family in New Orleans who decided to ride out the storm. With that being said, I have a question for you. Do you think if the media coverage before the storm had been as prevalent as the media coverage after the storm, do you think more people would have evacuated and the losses wouldn’t have been as significant? I know I had tons of older family members who believed they could handle the storm because it wasn’t like they hadn’t seen it before, and there really wasn’t a sense of urgency in the way the media presented it to them. Not saying that the media could foretell how much devastation the storm would cause, but in a precautional light they could have made more warnings and given more time. I also thought it was interesting that Ray Nagin didn’t even issue a mandatory evacuation until the day before the storm was supposed to hit.

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  7. Sarah, I found this very interesting considering my family was affected by Hurricane Katrina as well in southern Mississippi. I think the normalcy used by the writer makes it infinitely better than the hyperboles used by some writers. In this case, the reader is allowed to see that everything is very real and that it is relatable. Were the writers working for the storm doing it for themselves or because they were instructed to by a boss? I find it strange that a job would force employees to be placed in life-threatening situations. I’d like to know more about their motives as to bearing the storm. It reminds me of those shows about people that chase storms to document it. The way that you talked about how the storm impacted you enhanced the project a lot as well. Do you think it was primarily newspaper reporters at risk or were TV reporters as well?

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