Thursday, September 01, 2005

if you're interested...

Rachel Leibrock did some analysis of the media coverage of the flood on her blog today and then some guy posted something self-righteous and annoying and we both posted about that.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not only self-righteous and annoying, but also inaccurate. The early history of Sacramento was shaped by catastrophic flooding that usually results in death, disease, and social unrest. And even then, it took the city about 15 years of bickering before the money and effort came together in order to raise the areas of town closest to the river 20 feet (which is why some areas of downtown have tunnels) and to also start building levees.

beckler said...

Snap!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that guy was a self-righteous halfwit.
And in terms of news coverage, I just have one big observation 'ere. First of all, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a member of the mainstream news media, an editor at a newspaper and I've spent 10 hours a day for the past week reading the news wire and looking at reams of Katrina-related photos (and when I'm not at work I've been doing nothing else but following the story on TV, radio, online and in print in my off-hours, I guess because I'm doomed to a life of being a dedicated news junkie-nutcase) and I've noticed again the sort of three-act thing here that shows the strength, and the frustrating undoing, of TV news: As the hurricane rolled in, it's their time to shine, because matters like Dopplers and weathermen and updates on storm category levels and evacuations are what that medium does best.
And then the thing hits, and the ranks of TV news are able to broadcast great visual information and keep the public informed and up-to-the-minute on life-endangering information...
... and then we have what's been happening since the skies cleared and the havoc increases at the stret level: They're all in over their heads, and it starts (with a few exceptions, to be fair) to unravel into racially-tinged, sensationalistic, slapped-together, out-of-control, rumor-fueled, unverified-anecdote shoutfests and hastily-edited pure hell. In my opinion, overall, TV folk are capable of heroic, good public-minded journalism when the storm's on the way, but when the story itself becomes bigger than what they're equipped for, the coverage teeters off the ledge and into, for at its very worst, a disorganized and yelling-fire frenzy. Obviously, breaking news with a lot of compelling visual information lends itself to TV, but as usual the best, most informative and revelatory reporting (and the most level-headed) is coming from places like the Web site of the New Orleans Times-Picuyane (a paper whose reporters won national awards a few years back for a series about the grave danger the city was in, given the impoverished state of its levees, pumps and overall emergency planning, should it get a dead-on hit from a Category 5 hurricane) because its reporters, editors and photographers actually live in the city and know the neighborhoods, the issues and the severe racial and class fractions of the city. This story is almost immeasurably tragic on a huge scale and the worst of it is far from over; it will be one the biggest news events in recent American history on many levels, and the point to this long-winded post is just to point out that, at least for now, there remains a lot of very good coverage of it done by brave and capable print and online journalists, and I hope it remains readily accessible and can serve a very productive human purpose.

DeeAnn said...

To follow up with what the first commenter wrote and adding to it, the Sacramento area still has problems even now with our dam and levee system that need attention. I wrote about some of that it earlier today.

http://deeann.blog-city.com/cities_of_cards_part_1_on_the_street_where_you_live.htm

Anonymous said...

"I wrote about some of that it earlier today."

Good article! Oh and I'm the person who used to run Sacramento History Online, so thanks for giving credit for the Sacramento Room's print from the 1850 flood.

~ "first commenter"