Title page for ETD etd-03292007-090639


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Roberts, Shearon
URN etd-03292007-090639
Title Gulf Coast Journalists and Hurricane Katrina: Mounting Challenges to the Work Routine
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Andrea Miller Committee Chair
David Kurpius Committee Member
Jinx Broussard Committee Member
Keywords
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • local journalism
  • framing
  • sourcing
  • norms and routines
Date of Defense 2007-03-13
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore through sourcing and framing the changes Gulf Coast journalists made in their news reporting as a result of directly experiencing Hurricane Katrina. Data for this study was obtained through the archives of The New Orleans Times-Picayune and through the Nexis/Lexis database. Many Gulf-Coast journalists lost their homes and were affected by the storm in various degrees with one case of a reported suicide attempt. The daily newspapers of the cities of New Orleans, La. and Biloxi, Miss., received Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service for ceaseless and tireless reporting of the disaster. This study attempted to measure any changes in media norms and routines observed through source-types and framing techniques by comparing one year before the storm with one year after the storm for both The Times-Picayune and The Biloxi Sun-Herald.

This study found that Gulf Coast journalists increasingly framed the news after Hurricane Katrina using a human interest approach, with longer complex thematic stories. These journalists increasingly used ordinary people who were unaffiliated to organizations as sources a year after the storm. Interviews with these journalists revealed that these findings were consistent with a new found connection and identification with the public because of the common suffering these journalists experienced along with the readers as a result of the storm.

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