As the gulf oil spill dragged on, coverage of its psychological and economic aftermath gained momentum. Now, Poynter’s Al Tompkins has spotlighted coverage of what is sure to be a flood of follow-up reports and post-mortems. Based on research conducted from July 19 through 25 (the well has been effectively capped since July 15), the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University has released its “Impact on Children and Families of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,” subtitled “Preliminary Findings of the Coastal Population Impact Study.”
Photo by kk+ via Flickr
As Tompkins points out, the study has already pulled in significant media coverage. Shaila Dewan’s story in The New York Times, for example, covered both specifics and context:
“There’s been a very overt effort by BP and the Coast Guard to project a sense that the crisis is over, but this is far from the case,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the center and president of the Children’s Health Fund, a sponsor of the survey. “Our survey shows a persistent and overwhelming level of anxiety among families living near the coast, driven by both medical symptoms in their children as well as a substantial level of psychological stress.”
The survey included 1,200 coastal residents in Louisiana and Mississippi, most of whom live within 10 miles of the ocean.
One in five reported that their household income had dropped since the spill. Forty-three percent said they had been directly exposed to oil, either at beaches, on their property or in helping with the cleanup. Those who had been exposed were more than twice as likely to report that their children had developed physical or mental health problems since the spill. Also, families that had more concerns about their children’s mental health were more likely to report that they are considering moving.
- For psyches, Gulf is Valdez on ‘fast forward’
- CDC says monitoring system finds no ill from spill
- Mental health impact of the BP spill multiplies
- Resources for reporting on health and the oil spill
- Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health: A Summary of the June 2010 Workshop
- Tip sheet: reporting on the intersection of health, environment
- CDC Emergency Response and Preparedness
- A recent Dart Centre Europe panel looked at covering the human consequences of environmental disaster.
- Grief in the Gulf: Tanya Paperny writes about the challenge of reporting a slow-motion disaster.
- Dart Center resources for covering the Deepwater Horizon Spill