In reviewing the literature on new coverage of environmental crises, one article posed the question on whether journalists should volunteer to help people experiencing natural disasters by doing activities, such as passing out water bottles. Another article mentioned that many journalists who covered 9/11 highlighted American values, such as strength, and showed support for the government. And the same article discussed coverage of Hurricane Katrina, saying that journalists used a cultural and social approach, connecting with viewers and discussing how the government and the president didn’t play a great role in relief efforts. This article also mentioned that coverage on Hurricane Katrina took form in frequent tabloid journalism, where people in the right place and time were given the chance to express emotion about the situation, and where dramatization was frequently used to describe the scene of the disaster.
The focus centered around these articles were 1) whether journalists were being objective in these approaches, and 2) if not, were these approaches acceptable?
I believe that these authors should not be focusing on whether these journalists are using an objective or correct approach, but whether or not they are using various frames to research and convey information when reporting environmental crises.
People shouldn’t be focusing on whether or not a journalist can volunteer to hand out water to people experiencing environmental crises, but this shouldn’t be the only focus of journalists’ coverage.
And it’s not a bad thing (and may as well have been a very good thing) that coverage of Hurricane Katrina had a focus on the lack of government efforts, but journalists should have focused more on other topics of reporting as well.
Personal interviews by people witnessing an environmental disaster is not a poor approach, but again, giving too much coverage on interviews is not giving the full story on what happened and how the public can remedy the situation. The dramatization of environmental crises are only giving a snapshot of the obvious visual damage associated with environmental disasters.
If literature focused on journalists’ need to use more frames when covering environmental crises instead of focusing on whether their approaches were objective or adequate, then hopefully journalists would be motivated to do more digging instead of relying on poor research methods, which leads to these narrow frames in environmental disasters.
Balance is key in how journalists report environmental crises. Journalists need to stop relying on singular methods of research and narrow focuses on issues. Using various frames will help arm the public with the closest version of the truth in the face of environmental disasters; that is objective reporting.