Document


Title

Not all disasters are created equal: an evaluation of water issues in fire and hurricane media coverage in the United States
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Danielle Sanchez; Holly Eagleston; Benjamin Anker; La Tonya Jenkins; Thushara Gunda
Publication Year: 2021

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • analytics
  • disaster
  • hurricanes
  • newspaper coverage
  • reporting
  • text analysis
  • water
  • wildfires
Topic(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: January 14, 2022
FRAMES Record Number: 65121

Description

Water resources are greatly impacted by natural disasters, but very little is known about how these issues are portrayed in the media across different types of disasters. Using a corpus of over 600 thousand local newspaper articles, this research evaluates whether the amount of coverage of water-related concerns of fires and hurricanes reflects news values associated with magnitude and proximity. A more detailed analysis focused on wildfires, which occur on undeveloped land and have the potential to spread rapidly, was also conducted to further evaluate spatial patterns in disaster-related water coverage. Our results indicate that the newspaper coverage patterns for water issues are not equally connected to magnitude and proximity values for fires and hurricanes. In our sample, coverage of water issues in relation to fires and wildfires consistently had an inverse relationship with overall event magnitudes, whereas the coverage of water issues in relation to hurricanes demonstrated a positive correlation. Although wildfires are more likely to be clustered in the western part of the country, there was a lack of positive correlations with wildfire magnitudes in this region. Possible influences for these patterns (e.g., limited impacts to humans and lack of shock-value) are discussed. Given the media’s role in facilitating disaster management and recovery, these nuances in coverage variations provide insight into opportunities for informing water security, which is especially important given the increasing frequency of natural disasters.

Online Link(s):
Citation:
Sanchez, Danielle; Eagleston, Holly; Anker, Benjamin; Jenkins, La Tonya; Gunda, Thushara. 2021. Not all disasters are created equal: an evaluation of water issues in fire and hurricane media coverage in the United States. Water 13(24):3655.