Most Hurricane Katrina coverage in the media focused on government response rather than people' and communities' degrees of preparedness or accountability. As a result, many publications focused on response and recovery rather than mitigation and planning. Journalists often ignored evidence that would have informed readers about the nature of the storm and its potential impact. For example, journalists failed to note that rainfall amounts over 8 inches near New Orleans could cause widespread flooding or miss important details about the hurricane's path.
After the hurricane passed, journalists tended to focus on individual stories rather than on the broader context of Louisiana's poor infrastructure. For example, reporters described how individuals had been rescued from rooftops or from houses flooded by rising water levels. They rarely mentioned the need for greater flood protection in vulnerable areas like New Orleans or Lake Pontchartrain.
In general, media coverage of Hurricane Katrina was very superficial. Journalists provided only the most essential information needed by their audiences. They did not investigate what many residents had done to protect themselves against the hurricane, such as building codes that lacked mandatory elevators or windproofing that left many homes easily damaged by high winds. Nor did they ask officials about failures before the hurricane hit, such as the lack of evacuation orders for certain neighborhoods with a history of flooding. In short, media coverage offered readers only a one-sided view of this complex event.
Our response to Hurricane Katrina underscored the crucial need of integrating and synchronizing all federal, state, municipal, private sector, and community initiatives, as well as all preventative, protection, response, and recovery partners, into a cohesive system for...
Katrina highlighted that nature was not to be disregarded as an event causing policy change (Tierney 2008), and as a focal event, the Katrina tragedy and ensuing policy debacle did greatly boost public attention on the nation's disaster housing challenges. It also demonstrated that existing law could not protect against such a catastrophe.
Disaster housing has been used as a political tool in the United States for many years. President Theodore Roosevelt made use of this tactic following the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. He demanded that Congress pass new legislation to help rebuild destroyed neighborhoods, saying that "a government that will not take care of its citizens in their time of need cannot stand."
Congress responded by passing the National Housing Act of 1934, which led to the creation of many different federal agencies with authority over housing policy. This act is still in effect today.
Since then, politicians have continued to use disasters to push for changes to housing policy. One example was after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Congress passed legislation giving federal money to states for rebuilding efforts. The author of this bill said it would allow for better planning of relief efforts following future disasters.
In 2001, President George W. Bush made use of this technique after the devastation caused by New York City and other parts of the Northeast during the same hurricane season.
The media plays an important role in disaster management by teaching people about the repercussions and danger warnings, gathering and sharing information about impacted regions, and alerting the government to rescue and relief efforts. In addition, the media helps relieve tension by providing some form of entertainment during times of need.
In conclusion, the media is very important in situations of disaster because it can teach people about dangers and help them prepare for them, share information quickly, provide some form of entertainment during times of need, and help release tension after a disaster has occurred.
However, there are other Katrina stories that are only known to a select few but are much valued by individuals involved. These are the accounts of our military, police enforcement, and fire departments, as well as private persons, non-governmental organizations, and faith-based organizations. They tell of heroism, bravery, and selflessness on a scale not seen since World War II.
These stories are told around campfires, at church socials, in bars, and at family reunions. They show that even under the worst circumstances, people will always do what is right.
In addition to these stories, there are several lesser-known facts about Katrina that most people aren't aware of:
1 The New Orleans Police Department has the highest percentage of officers who work beyond their scheduled retirement age. Of the city's 801 sworn officers, 57 have been forced into early retirement because of injuries suffered during Katrina. Another 44 are expected to be forced out of duty this year.
2 More than 7,000 National Guard members from across the country were sent to Louisiana to help with recovery efforts. However, only about 15% are expected to return home after all their time is up.
3 It takes on average 21 days for a federal worker to be reimbursed for expenses related to Katrina. But some take years to be paid back.
The goal is to restore things exactly as they were before the calamity. WENDLAND: Andy Horowitz authored an entire book on it, "Katrina: A History, 1915–2015," in which he claims that the disaster's response exacerbated underlying problems. He argues that government policies had created a nation of victims who are now demanding more government assistance.
Horowitz writes that because of government failures, many people died when parts of New Orleans were flooded by water from the breached levees. His conclusion - that America is suffering from hurricane-induced trauma - has been cited by some critics who argue that federal spending on relief efforts has kept residents in Louisiana and Mississippi mired in poverty decades after the storms hit.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, President George W. Bush declared Louisiana and Mississippi states of emergency and ordered federal aid to be sent to the two states. But some observers believed that this action was too little too late; others say it was not done efficiently or sufficiently funds to help everyone in need.
As for Horowitz, he has been criticized for his role in choosing what books get published at the National Book Foundation and has been accused of hypocrisy for writing about other disasters while working at the book foundation during Katrina's aftermath.
Critics also point out that while researching the book, Horowitz never visited either Louisiana or Mississippi - only online sources were used.
The media has an important role in catastrophe risk management. The media plays a vital role in informing, educating, and empowering communities with pertinent knowledge in order to influence public action and policy toward disaster preparedness and mitigation.
In addition to informing the public about risks and hazards, the media can also serve as a tool for raising awareness about issues related to disaster risk management, such as disaster response and recovery. Media can also be used to communicate messages about prevention activities by government agencies and non-governmental organizations.
Finally, the media can be employed to promote positive changes in society by raising public support for specific actions or policies that reduce disaster risk.
Media coverage of disasters has increased greatly over time. However, this increase may have more to do with newsworthy events than with an increase in disaster severity. While greater coverage of severe disasters may reflect their importance to human welfare, it also means that less severe events receive less attention which could limit their effectiveness as a deterrent.
Furthermore, while media coverage of disasters can help raise public awareness about risks and hazards, it cannot be used as a replacement for sound risk management practices. For example, journalists should not be given access to areas still affected by hazard conditions without first being fully briefed on risk management measures taken by officials.