Why disaster survivors speak to reporters

Gearing, Amanda Ann (2013) Why disaster survivors speak to reporters. Australian Journalism Review, 35(1), pp. 71-81.

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Abstract

Practice-led journalism research techniques were used in this study to produce a ‘first draft of history’ recording the human experience of survivors and rescuers during the January 2011 flash flood disaster in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley in Queensland, Australia. The study aimed to discover what can be learnt from engaging in journalistic reporting of natural disasters, using journalism as both a creative practice and a research methodology. (Lindgren and Phillips, 2011, 75).

The willingness of a very high proportion of severely traumatised flood survivors to participate in the flood research was unexpected but made it possible to document a relatively unstudied question within the literature about journalism and trauma – when and why disaster survivors will want to speak to journalists. The study reports six categories of reasons interviewees gave for their willingness to speak to the media: for their own personal recovery; their desire for the public to know what had happened; that lessons need to be learned from the disaster; their sense of duty to make sure warning systems and disaster responses are improved in future; the financial disinterest of reporters in listening to survivors; and the timing of the request for an interview. In addition, traumatised flood survivors found both the opportunity to speak to the media and the journalistic outputs of the research cathartic in their recovery.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 68618
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: practice-led journalism research, survivors, trauma, media engagement, catharsis
ISSN: 0810-2686
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Journalism Education Association
Deposited On: 17 Mar 2014 01:17
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2014 09:33

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