Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Journalists in Natural Disasters: Participate or Report?

In his column headlined The role of journalism in the midst of disasters on Sunday, September 25, 2005, Seattle Times executive editor Mike Fancher leads with a question many news consumers have often asked: "Wouldn't it be better if journalists put down their notebooks and cameras to actually help during a disaster?"

Mr. Fancher's article has some thoughtful information for both journalists and news consumers.

In particular, he referred readers to the Dart Center for Journalism website. The website has front page links to "tips & tools" for journalists covering natural disasters. Two of the online pieces include Covering Disasters and First Responders, a guide for the journalist who is the first "first responder" to arrive on the scene.

We news consumers can easily forget that first responders may be disaster victims themselves. There was extensive news coverage describing how employees of the New Orleans Police Department became victims of Hurricane Katrina and how many of them continued to perform selflessly. Yet there were few if any stories about how victim journalists carried on with equal courage. The absence of stories about journalist victims is unsurprising; it would probably be viewed as unseemly if journalists were to report on their own victimization. But there were journalists who suffered great personal loss. Here's a link to how we can help them.


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