This book provides an introduction to covering crises, considering practice issues and providing guidance in preparing for and responding to calamities. It offers a concise overview for journalism academics and practitioners of covering disasters – not a "how to" handbook but a "how to prepare" reference to be used before a crisis occurs.
This essential resource is among the first to focus specifically and comprehensively on journalistic coverage of disasters. It demonstrates the application of scholarship and theory to professional practice, and includes a crash book template with logistical and information-collection requirements.
As a text for advanced reporting, broadcast journalism, and journalism ethics, or a reference for professionals, Reporting Disaster on Deadline provides key information for keeping on deadline in responding to crises.
Table of Contents
Covering disasters without becoming one -- Marty Steffens
What’s Probable and What’s Possible: What the Emergency Community Knows and What the Journalists Don’t -- Fred Vultee and Lee Wilkins
Terrorism: Disasters that Communicate -- Fred Vultee
The Crash Book Manual for Competitive Coverage — Schematic for Public Service
Kent Collins and Greeley Kyle
The Quality of Disaster News: Frames, Disaster Stages, and a Public Health Focus -- Esther Thorson
The Frontline in Our Backyard: Journalists as First Responders -- Greeley Kyle
Covering Consumer Issues: From Scams to Preparedness -- Marty Steffens
More than just a victim: Citizen Journalism and Disasters -- Marty Steffens
Roles and goals: Doing ethics to avoid journalistic disasters -- Lee Wilkins
Conclusions: The social impact of better journalism -- Lee Wilkins
Marty Steffens is SABEW Chair of business and financial journalism at the University of Missouri. She was a newspaper reporter and editor for 30 years, including executive editor of the San Francisco Examiner, Binghamton (NY) Press and Sun-Bulletin. She's worked many disasters in working at other such newspapers as the Los Angeles Times, Dayton Daily News, St. Paul Pioneer-Press and Minneapolis Star.
Lee Wilkins is a former newspaper reporter and editor who studies media coverage of disasters and hazards. She has written or edited books and articles about the Bhopal, India, chemical spill, the 1993 mid-west flood, global climate change, and El Nino, among other events. She is now a Curator's Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri where she also teaches and writes extensively about media ethics.
Fred Vultee is an assistant professor of journalism in the Wayne State University Communication Department. He studies the ways in which traditional media and new media function in conflicts and crises. As a longtime newspaper journalist, he was frequently involved in the coverage of natural and technological disasters, and he may be the only member of the "Disasters on Deadline" team to have spent the night under a table in the newsroom during a hurricane.
Esther Thorson is Associate Dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Director of Research for the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Thorson has published extensively on the news industry, advertising, news effects and health communication. Her scholarly work has won many research and writing awards and she has advised more than 40 doctoral dissertations. She is the only female Fellow of the American Academy of Advertising. She also consults extensively with newspaper companies and advertisers. Some of her latest work focuses on newspaper economics.
As Associate Professor in the Missouri School of Journalism and Executive News Editor at KOMU-8 TV, Greeley Kyle teaches reporting, interviewing, writing, visual storytelling and many of the intricacies of broadcast news. Previously (1984-1994), Greeley was the senior correspondent for WMC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee and headed the "Target 5" investigative team. As a journalist, he’s won several of UNDA's Gabriel awards, Sigma Delta Chi's first ever Golden Press Card as well as awards for spot and feature news coverage. As an educator, Greeley's been awarded the Maxine Shutz Distinguished Professor Award, the local NABJ Professor of the Year, and was selected a University of Missouri "Icon."
Associate Professor Kent Collins has been managing news stories and newsrooms for 40 years, in the small market, medium market, and large market. He has designed "crash books" to give radio and television newsrooms step-by-step instructions for covering disasters on deadline. Collins presents interactive disaster-on-deadline seminars for broadcasters associations nationwide.
"Reporting Disaster on Deadline reflects the experiences of those who have practiced the craft of crisis reporting and the insights of those who systematically study these transformational events. The authors have assembled a set of insightful contemporary observations about the role of communication in crisis from the canons of traditional journalism to the emerging world of digitally driven citizen reporting. This work occupies a special place in a world facing more disasters of greater consequence and a revolution in what we call journalism."
—Matthew W. Seeger, Professor of Communication, and Dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, Wayne State University"Reporting Disaster on Deadline offers journalism professionals and students a ready reference outlining disaster coverage from every angle. Journalists, as First Responders at scenes of tragedies, play important roles as the public's eyes and ears. The book's authors have created a great tool for seasoned reporters or for those learning the craft."
—Doug Crews, Executive Director, Missouri Press Association
"Reporting Disasters on Deadline is an important book for practicing reporters and disaster researchers. Other books on disaster journalism are filled with case studies, with an occasional chapter on broader issues. However, this book presents many specific research-based planning and story suggestions that will improve reporters’ coverage of disasters."
—Mike Lindell, Professor, Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, and Co-Editor, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters