Reporting on floods – at home or abroad

What’s the difference between the story of a flood told by a reporter and that told by someone who was in it?

That was one of the questions explored in a seminar held at the University of Glamorgan’s Atrium in Cardiff this week. It was part of a series on the theme ‘Learning to Live with Water: Flood histories, Environmental Change, Remembrance and Resilience’ and brought together (among others) geographers, story-tellers, academics, artists, emergency planners and poets.

As a contribution, I drew the participants’ attention to the excellent resources and discussion at the DART Center for Journalism & Trauma – especially the current material on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami (including detailed advice on all the challenges facing reporters in such a situation).

Photo: Nine Network / 60 Minutes

Torn Apart – Reporting Heartbreak
Particularly interesting for journalists – and journalism students – is this response of a TV producer who was accused of exploiting a family who lost a child in the Queensland floods. It tells us a lot about the positive impact of good journalism – which does exist!

The Flood Histories project is based at the University of Gloucester and Glamorgan’s George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling.

Find out more about our Journalism courses.

About James Stewart

Senior Lecturer in Radio Journalism.
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