As Bushfires Blaze Across Australia, Tips on Covering Disaster
December 21, 2019
Hundreds of fires swept across parts of New South Wales and South Australia on Saturday, as the severe heat wave and bush fire crisis continues. Two blazes around Sydney are burning at emergency level, prompting officials to declare "catastrophic" fire conditions -- the highest fire danger rating -- for only the second time in the city's history.
As the fires blaze on, we have assembled resources for journalists on covering disaster and recovery, interviewing victims and survivors, and working with colleagues exposed to traumatic events:
- The Dart Center's quick tips, in-depth resources and links to other organizations on "Covering Disasters."
- "Tragedies & Journalists": the Dart Center's comprehensive guide for reporters, editors, photographers and managers on every aspect of reporting tragedy.
- An interview with Irving Redlener, M.D. on the role that news media play in aiding recovery and drawing lessons to better manage future catastrophes.
- Guidance on mental health issues and how they evolve in regions devastated by natural disasters, from psychiatrist Alexander McFarlane.
- Tips for working with traumatic imagery.
- Guidance on working with emergency services from Dr. Anne Eyre, specialist in trauma and disaster management.
- Guidance on reporting natural disasters from Manoucheka Celeste, Haitian-born journalist and media scholar.
- "Best Practices in Trauma Reporting," drawn from a decade of Dart Award-winning stories.
- Tip Sheets on how to effectively cover a disaster and self-care amid disaster from 2014 Pulitzer Prize winning editor Joe Hight.
- Scientific consensus, made readable, on the effects of traumatic coverage on journalists and on media consumers.
- Dart Centre Asia Pacific's self care tips for news personnel exposed to traumatic events, staff care tips for their managers and editors and reporting tips for dealing with victims of tragedy.
- Reflection and advice from six international reporters who were on the ground during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami -- Yulia Supadmo, Indonesia; Mehul Srivastava, USA; Shahanaaz Habib, Malaysia; Shahidul Alam, Bangladesh; Pia Sarkar, USA; Mona Khanna, USA -- as well as Australian photojournalist Patrick Hamilton and correspondent Kimina Lyall.
- Transcript and individual reports from a Frontline Club discussion of tsunami coverage, with former Dart Centre Europe Director Mark Brayne, BBC developing world correspondent David Loyn and clinical psychologist Bill Yule.
- The International Center for Journalists's two-part guide on Disaster and Crisis Coverage and Journalism and Trauma.
- Natural Disaster resources assembled by Google, including Google's person-finder.
- Recovery from Unnatural Death: A guide by psychiatrist Ted Rynearson for friends and family of someone who has died violently or suddenly.
- Dart Center Executive Director Bruce Shapiro spoke in Melbourne, Australia about reckoning with the aftermath of disaster.
- The Covering Recovery Project, a joint initiative of the Dart Center and the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, hosted a colloquium focused on innovations in coverage and lessons learned from recent disasters. Event video is available here.
Strategies for investigating in the aftermath of disasters featuring journalists Bruce Shapiro, Jason Berry, Rick Young, Justin Elliott and Laura Sullivan.
- How to deal with people caught up in tragic events.
- Tips for managers and editors to help them prepare and support reporters in the field.