Contest Entries




Affiliation: Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss.

Beat Reporting

Year: 2007

Provide a brief synopsis of the story or stories, including any significant findings.

The stories are part of a special beat at the Sun Herald that focuses on Southern Mississippi healthcare in the years after Hurricane Katrina. After a major disaster, how does a healthcare infrastructure recover, if at all? What happens to the indigent, the uninsured and the underinsured? Are there particular physical illnesses that will appear along the Mississippi Coast long after the wreckage is removed and rebuilding has begun? The four stories chosen here represent four different angles of healthcare after this disaster: mental health, especially in a hard-hit military town; healthcare for poor immigrant minorities essential to the local economy; the loss of healthcare facilities and providers after the storm; and how disaster planning failed the chronically ill along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Because this is such a new, hyper-local beat, it may be many years before the true damage is understood, but at this time, the main finding is that without healthcare providers that can understand what the trauma of disaster does to a person physically and mentally, healing is often unnecessarily agonizing and slow. And without a strong public health framework to bolster the community, the disenfranchised have the hardest time recovering.

See the archived story and the contest questionnaire about how this story was written?