Grief in the Gulf

A slow-motion environmental disaster is far different from a hurricane, an earthquake or a war, but the potential for trauma is just as great. Covering this story requires comprehensive reporting across many disciplines: engineering and economics, science and the environment, politics, public policy and the law. It also requires sensitivity when interviewing potentially traumatized individuals caught up in the disaster.

Here's an array of resources for journalists in the Gulf Coast and beyond who are reporting the impact of the spill.

Journalism and Trauma

Reporting the Spill

  • The Daily Glob: This Gulf oil spill tracking blog from the Society of Environmental Journalists contains updates on the spill, an array of sources and links to outstanding media coverage.
  • BP Oil Spill Journalism Toolbox: The Poynter Institute's Al Tompkins tracks developments on the Gulf Coast and discusses emerging ethical issues for reporters and photographers.
  • Journalists at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, seasoned by their coverage of Hurricane Katrina, track the latest news from the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster.
  • Original reporting from the Tampa Bay Tribune and links to authoritative environmental and oceanographic resources track the impact on the Florida coastline.
  • Gulf Spill Demystified:'s glossary of terms related to the spill.
  • Covering Health: The blog from the Association of Healthcare Journalists offers some tips on covering the spill's human health impacts.

Crowdsourcing and Other Resources

  • LA Bucket Eyewitness reports of the effects of the oil spill submitted via text message, email, Twitter and the web: oil sightings, affected animals, odors, health effects and other impacts populate points on this public, interactive, web-based map, produced by a Louisiana environmental advocacy group and Tulane University.
  • Google Crisis Response: A compendium of reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Google Earth and a variety of user-generated content.
  • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trajectory: The University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group uses aerial photographs of the oil slick and readings of wind and water currents to create an animated projection of where the oil will go next.
  • American Psychological Association: A tipsheet on the APA website offers strategies for resilience to those distressed over the impact of the spill.