By BEN EZZY
For the past few days, Hurricane Harvey has made its way over Texas and Louisiana, wreaking havoc in its path. The storm has been moving unusually slow in comparison to other hurricanes of the past, which has led to extensive flooding in Houston and other areas as the storm continues to develop. The way news organizations are covering the storm has been very interesting to study as a broadcast journalism student.
Organizations like The New York Times and CNN have done a great job updating online readers with content, including storm updates, footage, and personal stories of tragedy and heroism. While this is to be expected, it has been a great reflection of classroom conversations about media and content delivery.
There has been some public backlash to the intrusiveness of reporters, particularly in these disaster stories. Shoving a microphone into a grieving victim’s face can often be seen as overly aggressive, particularly in the aftermath of this chaos. While this behavior is a direct result of consumer demand, the ethics of doing so affect each reporter differently. Some reporters have taken a softer approach, offering aid to victims while also gathering their story, which has been very interesting.
One of my friends at UM is from Houston and he made an interesting point to me at dinner the other night. He was upset that news organizations, specifically on the broadcast side, haven’t done any stories about the recovery process. Personally, I think that the coverage up until this point has been about tracking the storm and the devastation, because the storm is still developing. Once the weather clears and the water begins to recede is when the recovery effort can truly begin, and that’s when those types of stories will be possible for news organizations to cover. Until then, the outlook for thousands appears bleak, and so do the stories.