WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Reporters in the Thick of It during Disasters

Sep 5, 2017

The Shop Talk panelists this week discuss news coverage of Hurricane Harvey and what it's like to report on a disaster.

Panelist Will Buss said journalists lend a helping hand during a disaster simply by being there. He said journalists let the rest of the world know what’s happening and they help get information to those affected by a disaster. 

Buss said journalists have come under attack in recent months -- especially from the nation’s president -- but they once again proved their value while covering the flooding in Texas.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton said social media proved useful at times during the disaster in Texas and she feels the reporting by the cable TV networks was generally appropriate. And she said reporters were called on a number of times to help someone stranded by the flooding.

Panelist Rich Egger said that when he covered flooding along the Mississippi River, he wondered if he should be doing more on a personal level – whether he should bring in supplies to help people in communities along the river. He considered it a difficult call because he didn’t want to appear to be bribing victims of the flooding to speak with him.

Buss has also covered flooding along the Mississippi and agreed that it can be a difficult call for journalists who are trying to do their job but also want to help because they feel compassion for disaster victims.

Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.

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