Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Gulf Coast, Not Just New Orleans: Bias in the Media

A good friend of mine and his family survived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. His livelihood did not. We all know that this area that got the strongest impact of the hurricane. Yet, the media coverage is dominated by stories about New Orleans. And even then primarily about the city itself.

The bias of the media is a leading reason for the neglect of those areas outside New Orleans. TV depends on pictures and thus cameras. Getting the cameras with satellite uplinks with mobile power is expensive and thus there are not many crews from any one network. And sense reports tend to flock – for a variety of reasons – we are seeing primarily coverage from New Orleans. It has only been on Countdown that I’ve seen a long piece on the Coast.

However, on radio I’m hearing different coverage. I’m hearing stories from different parishes throughout Louisiana. I’m hearing rural stories. I’ve heard voices from Memphis. I’m getting coverage from where it is easy to get a microphone or telephone. The coverage is geographically different.

There is a bias in the media because of the technology. We’re seeing this in Katrina coverage and we must be aware that there is more to the story.

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