Covering tropical storms: Resources, related stories to help your reporting

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

As Tropical Storm Hurricane Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, we have gathered tip sheets about covering natural disasters and the ensuing public health risks, along with articles written by journalists about covering the public health angle of disasters.

The compilation includes award-winning stories about covering health and health care systems in the aftermath of hurricanes – along with questionnaires about how those stories were reported. Links to resources and academic research should help you find story ideas and expert sources to help you evaluate and cover the public health response before, during and after the storm.

Among the collection:

  • Presentations from a panel about evaluating how prepared your city is for a disaster
  • A presentation about following the money in public health crisis preparation
  • Two articles about how journalists might cover and survive disasters as well as understand the medical systems in place to handle them.
  • Extensive reporting on health care in southern Mississippi and New Orleans in the years after Hurricane Katrina
  • Sheri Fink’s Pulitzer-winning article, “The Deadly Choices at Memorial,” about what happened at one isolated New Orleans hospital in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, as well as her  article for AHCJ, “Covering a complex story for the long haul,” in which she explains the reporting and writing process for that work.

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