Thursday, September 15, 2005

Change In Tenor Of Katrina Coverage

I've been away on vacation for over a week, thus the lack of any posts. During my return trip I had the pleasure of four hour layover in the Salt Lake City airport. Much of that time was spent under a monitor showing CNN. Of course, the coverage was almost entirely Katrina related.

Having been separated from both mainstream media coverage and the blogosphere, a change in the tenor of the coverage was immediately apparent to me. When I had left for vacation, the underlying question in every news story was how could have the government have failed so badly in responding to the storm? The coverage I witnessed at the airport was missing much of this angle.

The stories were diverse and covered both good and bad aspects of the situation along the gulf coast. The choices ranged from up-to-the-minute, breaking news stories to human interest stories depicting the courage with which some are facing the destruction wrought by Katrina. One of the most striking changes was that many stories involved coverage of the national guard efforts and in every case, the men and women of the guard were depicted in a heroic, positive light.

I cannot know for sure what caused this change in tenor. Perhaps the reporters now living in the aftermath of the storm fully understand the scope of the destruction. They are now answering the more immediate (and pertinent) question of "What is being done to survive and recover?" as opposed to "Who is to blame?" Perhaps the recovery efforts have so gripped the nation that the viewers find caustic, investigatory reporting unpalatable at the moment.

Whatever the root cause, I find the change a welcome one.

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