Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Title

Best Practices for Disaster Coverage: an Analysis of How the Sun Herald Newspaper and WLOX-TV Covered Hurricane Katrina

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Journalism

First Advisor

Nancy Dupont

Second Advisor

Kristen Swain

Third Advisor

Joe Atkins

Abstract

A substantial amount of research has been done on Hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans, Louisiana. However, few studies have focused on how the Mississippi Gulf Coast was affected by the hurricane. The purpose of this study is to bring attention to the reporting efforts of WLOX-TV and The Sun Herald newspaper to cover Hurricane Katrina. This case study analyzes the practices WLOX and The Sun Herald used to cover the hurricane and to explore which practices could be implemented in other newsrooms in the future. A total of four interviews were conducted with members from the newsrooms who had major roles in the hurricane coverage. The individuals who were interviewed provided first-hand accounts of the practices used to cover the hurricane. The data revealed that both newsrooms implemented storm plans, which helped tremendously in covering the news in the days and weeks following the hurricane.

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