Radio’s Role in Disaster Coverage?

  • Radio’s Role in Disaster Coverage?
    This article from briefly covers the role of radio in informing and connecting people in the aftermath of last week’s disasters. Unfortunately it’s kind of shallow, focusing on radio’s roles in providing first news to many people and some radio stations’ fundraising efforts. While these aspects are undoubtably important, this overlooks radio’s role in providing alternative news, information and opinion. In any given city there are far more radio stations than TV stations, and likely more non-profit ones at that. These stations are far more likely to provide coverage that doesn’t follow the “party line” and also more likely to provide coverage primarily intended for radio. Because of the overall decline of radio news networks in the last ten years, most non-news oriented commercial radio stations–that’s most of them–aired audio feeds of the major TV news networks in the first 24-48 hours after the attacks. Yes, that’s useful, but offers nothing that TV doesn’t. The Poynter article gives a nod to NPR, which provided it’s own brand of radio-centric coverage, but otherwise doesn’t give much attention to radio-centric journalism and coverage.

    It’s a shame that most folks–especially journalism scholars at Poynter–see radio in such a narrow perspective, apparently ignorant that something exists beyond commercial radio and NPR, and therefore also ignorant of the possibility that there could be even more.

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