With Hurricane Matthew coming ashore on Haiti and approaching Cuba and the United States, this seems like a good time to review some resources and advice that AHCJ has compiled about reporting on hurricanes and other disasters.
Even if you’re not reporting on an affected location, this may be a good time to ask some questions and write about disaster preparedness in your region.
- Some advice when interviewing victims of mental or other trauma
- Covering hurricanes: Resources and related stories
- Reporters’ preparation would decrease chaos in covering disasters
- Disaster coverage: Is your newsroom prepared?
- Reporting on the health impacts of flooding
- AHCJ urges reporters in disaster areas to avoid focusing on selves
Some award-winning stories following Hurricane Katrina:
- Thousands of families who were left homeless in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina were housed in temporary travel trailers provided by FEMA that were emitting toxic levels of formaldehyde. Dan Rather Reports broke that news and that FEMA was aware of the problem before delivering a single trailer.
- For the Biloxi, Miss., Sun Herald, Megha Satyanarayana focused on southern Mississippi health care in the years after Hurricane Katrina.
- Sheri Fink’s Pulitzer-winning article, “The Deadly Choices at Memorial,” a collaboration between ProPublica and The New York Times, described what happened at one isolated New Orleans hospital in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina. She found, after more than two years of research, that more medical professionals were involved in the decision to inject patients with drugs to hasten their deaths – and far more patients were injected – than had been previously understood. In an article for AHCJ, “Covering a complex story for the long haul,” Fink explains the reporting and writing process for this 13,000-word article.
- MedPageToday chronicled the state of the iconic University of Texas Medical Branch a year after Hurricane Ike shut down that Galveston facility and the four-year transformation New Orleans health care has gone through post-Katrina.
- The Hot Zone: This story documents the health effects of global warming, including the breakdown of the public health system in the aftermath of extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Katrina, that will become more commonplace due to climate change. This story also looks at possible solutions and the failure of government agencies to plan accordingly.
- For PBS Newshour, Betty Ann Bowser and Bridget DeSimone look at “How is the Gulf Coast Mentally Coping with Devastation of Two Disasters?“
- CDC hurricane page
- Florida Division of Emergency Management (@)
- Georgia Emergency Management Agency Homepage (@)
- North Carolina Disaster Information Center
- North Carolina Emergency Management (@)
- South Carolina Emergency Management Division(@)
- University of North Carolina Public Health Grand Rounds:
After Katrina: Building a Better Public Health System for the Future
Learning from Katrina: Tough Lessons in Preparedness and Emergency Response
- National Hazards Center: A national and international clearinghouse of knowledge concerning the social science and policy aspects of disasters.
- USGS National Wetlands Research Center: Hurricanes
- International Disaster Database: Data on the occurrence and effects of more than 18,000 disasters in the world from 1900 to present, compiled from U.N. agencies, non-governmental organisations, insurance companies, research institutes and press agencies.
- Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
- NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center: Has links to relevant agencies, standards of care in disaster situations, hazardous materials, environmental clean up and more.
- National Organization for Victim Assistance
- The 2016 National Snapshot of Public Health Preparedness demonstrates how federal investments enhance our nation’s ability to respond to public health threats and emergencies.
- CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response
- Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma
- Covering Hurricanes: Before, During and After the Storm
- Tips on covering disasters
- Best Practices in Trauma Reporting
- Covering Trauma: Impact on Journalists
- Covering Trauma: Impact on the Public