In Aftermath of Cyclone Pam, Resources for Journalists
A cyclone ravaged the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu early on Saturday, killing at least 24 people and displacing upwards of 3,000, according to the United Nations. The category five tropical storm brought with it winds of up to 185 miles an hour, tearing apart as many as 19,000 homes and leaving survivors scrambling to make it to one of 37 evacuation centers that have since been set up.
"The humanitarian need is immediate, we need it right now," said Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale, who was attending a disaster preparedness conference in Japan when the storm hit. "After all the development we have done for the last couple of years and this big cyclone came and just destroyed all the infrastructure the government has built. Completely destroyed."
Many towns and villages remain out of contact with the nation's capital, Port Vila, leaving government officials, relief workers and members of the media uncertain about the full extent of the damage.
The storm is weaking as it makes its way toward New Zealand, and poses no further threat to the South Pacific, according to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The Dart Center has a host of tips and resources for journalists covering tragedy on this scale below:
- John Pope's tips on "Covering hurricanes." Keep track of the storm using the National Hurricane Center & Weather Underground.
- The Dart Center's quick tips, in-depth resources and links to other organizations on "Covering Disasters."
- "Tragedies and 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.
- 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, on media consumers in general and on children in particular.
- 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.