PUBLIC LECTURE: Witness to Disaster: Journalists and Journalism in Hurricane Katrina
|Witness to Disaster: Journalists and Journalism in Hurricane Katrina
A public lecture by James O’Byrne, NOLA.com.
Katrina brought into high relief the role of journalists as first responders, as integral to disaster response as police, fire and rescue personnel. The unprecedented nature of the collapse of the Federal seawalls protecting New Orleans, and the ensuing human, social and environmental catastrophe, burdened journalists with extraordinary challenges personal, ethical and professional. How does a journalist function when he is both a victim of, and a witness to, disaster?
What are his or her ethical responsibilities as a human being, and how do those responsibilities interface with his job, when there are so many people in direct and immediate peril? What is the role of storytelling in the aftermath of a disaster?
These questions become even more crucial when one considers the precipitous decline in the business model of print newspapers, and leaves open the question of who will provide this critical coverage when there is not a professional class of journalists willing to run toward danger? Many of these issues were explored in a short 8-minute video culled from more than 10 hours of interviews with journalists from The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans and the accompanying news website, NOLA.com. With less than three years to the 10th anniversary of that devastating storm, a fuller, documentary-length exploration of the media in Hurricane Katrina is envisioned.
This lecture is part of the International Workshop ‘Investigating Catastrophe: Commemoration, Accountability and the Public Record of Disaster’ supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies at The University of Western Australia and The Australian Research Council.
Cost: Free, but RSVP essential. To register a place: https://www.ias.uwa.edu.au/lectures/obyrne
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