Journalists should plan ahead for disaster coverage


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It is no wonder that many of the journalists are puzzled when covering news about “disasters.” Because of the difficult circumstances of a disaster and the tight news deadlines, reporters need experience. The following tips can help gain some of that experience.

Reporting a disaster requires a step-by-step process. Consider the  the five W’s and the H. These questions will help you at each stage.

The first stage is preparation. To act instantly when disaster happens, your news organization needs a plan. Ask yourself:Where do you find the background information and sufficient resources?

Next comes investiment. You need to be there and talk to the affected people and the officials charged with handling the disaster(Both victims, selfless heroes, survivors, policem etc.) Remember to take detailed notes as much as possible, because they are all potentially useful.

The third step: Producing content. According to Joe Hight, writing collected information into text contains two aspects:

• Just tell the truth.

• Reflect individual’s lives under the disaster circumstance.

Last but not least, “tracing” the recovery process after the disaster is also essential. How are donations are spent? How are people are helped? What’s the difference between before the disaster and now?

Surely, journalists are responsible to raise public awareness to help the victims. When you realize your duty, will you still think shrink from covering disasters?

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