Covering Disasters Workshop Series: Reporting on Disasters during COVID-19
Apr 16, 2020
Social distancing, shelter-in-place orders, and travel restrictions are complicating preparations for and responses to extreme weather and disasters. The American Meteorological Society (AMS), the scientific organization representing about 12,000 meteorologists, issued a statement that people should use public tornado shelters if they’re the best refuge available, despite coronavirus fears. And the American Red Cross is creating new protocols for evacuation shelters, including when possible, to use hotels or other alternatives like dorms to shelter people.
Climate Central and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) held an online briefing on April 8, 2020, to help journalists report on local emergency planning efforts during the pandemic and to cover disasters effectively and safely when they occur. Our experts discussed a wide variety of disasters, including hurricanes, heat waves, tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires.
CLIMATE CENTRAL DATA & GRAPHICS ON CLIMATE AND DISASTERS
Climate change is exacerbating the threat of compounding disasters. As carbon pollution traps heat and increases temperatures, that increases the evaporation of water from soil. This can result in heavier downpours and worsen flooding when there is a trigger for rain, but also lead to worsening droughts, wildfires and heat waves. And the warming of ocean water and melting of land-based ice is raising sea levels and can increase wind speeds and the amount of rainfall during hurricanes. While there are still questions as to how climate change is impacting tornadoes, research indicates possible changes in tornado outbreak location and seasonal timing.
Climate Central’s Media Library contains localized data, analyses and multimedia — all grounded in science — to help you understand and share the story of our changing climate.
Climate Central also offers extreme weather toolkits:
RESOURCES FOR REPORTER SAFETY & FOR COVERING COVID-19
Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at the Columbia Journalism School has a webinar series for journalists reporting on COVID-19. Resources and educational materials include self-care advice and tip sheets for both news managers and reporters covering pandemics.
Grants available for covering COVID-19
Pulitzer Center: Coronavirus News Collaboration Challenge
National Geographic: COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists
A collection of media guidance and shared resources for reporters and newsrooms in covering COVID-19 (thanks to the Pulitzer Center for this list):
The Newsroom Guide to COVID-19 (News Nerdery)
Coronavirus: Resources for reporters (First Draft)
Covering COVID-19 (Center for Cooperative Media) - How journalists are working together to cover the COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19: Poynter Resources (Poynter)
CPJ Safety Advisory: Covering the coronavirus outbreak (Committee to Protect Journalists)
Press freedom and government transparency during COVID-19 (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
COVID-19: Resources for nonprofit newsrooms (Institute for Nonprofit News)
Resources for Freelancers Navigating COVID-19 (Association of Independents in Radio)
Coronavirus, SARS, Flu and Other Resources (Journalist's Toolbox)
A Global Crisis Like COVID-19 Calls for a Global Response. Here’s Ours. (International Center for Journalists)
Taking Care Of Journalists And Journalism (Freedom Forum Institute & Power Shift Project) - Super list of resources here
Covering Coronavirus (The National Press Club Journalism Institute) - A daily newsletter with daily media developments, coverage tips and leadership advice
Latest Coronavirus Resources for Newsrooms (The Knight-Cronkite News Lab)
COVID-19 Resources for Smaller Newsrooms and Others (Democracy Fund)
LOCAL INTERVIEW IDEAS & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT RESOURCES
The International Association of Emergency Managers has created a page of resources for their members, including webinars and links to national and international health and safety guidance on COVID-19. You can contact their media office to find local emergency managers or experts in your area.
The EPA provides a list of emergency response commissions’ contact information for each state.
The SciLine service, 500 Women Scientists or the press offices of local universities may be able to connect you with local scientists or climatologists who have expertise on extreme weather events or disasters in your area.
ARTICLES ON COVID-19 AND DISASTERS
Below is a collection of recent articles exploring disaster preparedness and response during the COVID-19 epidemic.
'Hope Isn't A Strategy.' How To Prepare For A Natural Disaster During COVID-19, by Nathan Rott, NPR
As Natural Disasters Strike, a New Fear: Relief Shelters May Spread Virus, by Chris Flavelle, New York Times
Protecting the First Responders, by Ryan Pfeil, in Medford, Oregon’s Mail Tribune
“Climate Change Is Exacerbating…Risks”: Stressed by Coronavirus, First Responders Prep for a Dangerous Summer, by Elizabeth Royte, Vanity Fair
How the Coronavirus Crisis May Hinder Efforts to Fight Wildfires, by Kendra Pierre-Louis, New York Times
How do bushfire victims follow COVID-19 social distancing measures after losing their homes? by Joanna Woodburn and Claire Wheaton, ABC (Australia) Central West
The Midwest Is Preparing To Get Hit With Major Floods During The Coronavirus Outbreak, by Zahra Hirji, Buzzfeed News
New UCS Analysis: Coronavirus and Flooding Set to Collide in US, blog by Kristy Dahl, Senior Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists
Hurricane Season on Top of a Pandemic Will Be a Nightmare, by Yessenia Funes, Gizmodo
The Looming Hurricane Season and COVID-19 Coronavirus, by Marshall Shepherd, Forbes
Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Rethink your options for severe weather by Dale Denwalt, The Oklahoman
Should storm shelters open in Tornado Alley amid the coronavirus crisis? by Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post
Should You Use Public Tornado Shelters During The Coronavirus Pandemic? by Marshall Shepherd, Forbes
NATIONAL AND REGIONAL EXPERTS
Dr. Samantha Montano, assistant professor of Emergency Management & Disaster Science at University of Nebraska, Omaha, firstname.lastname@example.org
Judith Matloff, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma safety advisor, Columbia Journalism School faculty (crisis reporting), author of How to Drag a Body and other Safety Tips You Hope to Never Need, email@example.com