Thursday , July 18 2024

Some Good Katrina Media Coverage

I have seen some excellent media coverage of the storm disaster and its impact and a great deal of terribly sensationalistic coverage. I thought I’d take a moment to point to two stories that I think are excellent, the kind of journalism I would have been proud to have run under my byline during my ten years as a journalist.

Many news agencies seem to be ignoring the important role that race and class are playing in these events, as if they don’t notice that many of those left behind and suffering are poor black local residents.

So I was pleased to see this story which delves into that important topic.

But it was this story in the Washington Post that I think did the best job of telling the stories of individual victims. (If that link doesn’t work for you, try this one. It even had the excellent headline on the jump page of “When Coulda Met Shoulda.”

Two men both stayed behind while their families went on.

The author writes:

You begin to see the answer to the question that vexes all the people who live life in a different way, the question that the authorities bring up, peevishly, when the public and the media press them, hard, on why this humanitarian crisis deepens every day. They could have left, you hear. Why didn’t they leave?

“Listen,” says Montgomery, “some people have money and ways to get out. A lot of people are poor. They wait until the devastation hits.” That was not his problem; he had a Chevy Suburban — “So do I! Or, I did” — interjects Hudson.

No, Montgomery’s wife wanted to go to Houston , so she put the kids in her Jeep and went. “We men so stupid,” he says, and Hudson nods mournfully.


Must reading right now for those following this disaster: The Interdictor.

“This journal has become the Survival of New Orleans blog. In less perilous times it was simply a blog for me to talk smack and chat with friends. Now this journal exists to share firsthand experience of the disaster and its aftermath with anyone interested.”


While Mark in Mexico is providing a good New Orleans history lesson at his blog,

Buzz Machine is asking a good question: Why did the media censor a speech by the New Orleans mayor?

Meanwhile, a wiki has been set up for coverage of Katrina. Thanks to New Media Musings for the link.

It’s not every day that the conservative Captain’s Quarters blog points to a Washington Post editorial it likes so I feel required to mention it.

Like Jenny D., a newfound colleague who made a career change similar to mine, I’m a bit disgusted with all the finger pointing going on. But she posts some great observations from one of Katrina’s victims.

TalkNation is also doing some great blogging about Katrina.

Oh and one final great piece: Slate’s Jack Shafter on reporters standing up to the BS politicans are giving them during this crisis.


About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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