Lessons from Hurricane Katrina reflective coverage

ESPN covered the Hurricane Katrina 10 year anniversary with a blend of stories, video, and photo galleries.
ESPN covered the Hurricane Katrina 10 year anniversary with a blend of stories, video, and photo galleries.

As the 10th anniversary coverage of Hurricane Katrina winds down, it’s worth taking a look at how a few major news organizations planned their coverage. Here are a few to check out:

The Times-Picayune’s “Ten Years Later

NPR’s special series “Hurricane Katrina: 10 years of recovery and reflection

ESPN’s “Ten Years After Katrina

The LA Times’ “Hurricane Katrina: 10 years later

Slate’s collection of stories and commentary

In addition to those, search pretty much any major news organization for “Hurricane Katrina” and you’re bound to find a reflective story or two. There’s even a great story by Times-Picayune writer Dave Walker on what it feels like — and what he learned from — being the center of national attention for this month’s, and particularly last week’s, Katrina anniversary coverage.

I’ll share a few stories in different forms with my journalists this week, and I want them to think about how they might plan reflective coverage like this for their own local audience. In order to get them thinking, I’m going to share a Google document that asks them to do a little historical research.

Here’s a link to the doc: Reflective coverage brainstorming

reflective coverage planWe’ll search through our archives, both print and online, as well as other historical records from our community. At the end, I’m hoping they find a few topics worth looking back at this year, whether they warrant a full series of coverage or one simple story.

Michelle Balmeo

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of El Estoque newsmagazine and news website at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif. During her 11-year tenure as adviser, the publications have regularly received NSPA’s Pacemaker award and CSPA’s Crown award. She has been selected as CA Journalism Teacher of the Year, a JEA Rising Star, and a DJNF Distinguished Adviser. She was previously the JEA Web Curriculum Leader and currently serves on the board of JEA Northern California.

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