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My Memories of Katrina

The images I have included for today are front covers of my hometown’s (New Orleans, La)  newspaper The Times Picayune. I actually have a copy of the paper on the left, but it is worn now and it is hard to read what it says. What I want to illustrate with this images comes from Becker’s discussion of News coverage. On page 242 he discusses how news media send reporters to cover natural disasters or other significant events. What I found to be most significant in this section was the idea that the photographs of major news event most often depict human stories or ordinary people (p. 243). He further explains that journalists often write text in the first person both as a tool to convey in the most personal way what individuals in the photograph are going through and also because the journalists themselves as moved by whatever they are writing about (p.243). To sum this all up, I will never, ever forget seeing the front page of the Times Picayune depicted on the left. We picked it up on my doorstep the day we left. A few hours later, my family and I were one of those cars stuck in a parking lot of traffic just trying to get away as the sci-like storm clouds began to roll in. The water tower depicted in the picture on the left is maybe 2 miles or less from my home. What I found interesting about the difference between these two photographs is that I realize that for someone who didn’t live through this experience, the page on the left may not move them in the same way or even catch their attention. But as Becker says, in order to convey the full weight of news to an outside audience, human stories like what is clearly depicted on the right are most often what is used today to truly capture a newsworthy event. Both news covers had the same emotional effect on me, however, I identify personally with the one on the left. By the time the second front cover on the left was published, I was holed up in a hotel in Memphis glued to my television and thus began to rely on personal news stories and other news coverage to make sense of what was going on.

Casey

Comments

Daniel
Reply

I completely agree with what Becker says about including human elements within the illustration. Since I am not from around the Louisiana area nor is anyone I know, I did not have a great connection to Hurricane Katrina. When I look at the left image, I feel more dramatized then when I look at the right image. However, you were directly correlated with this experience and both images simulate the experience all over again

Liz
Reply

Some of the most powerful news stories I’ve read about tragedy have been written in first person. That kind of human interest story is so much more effective than a standard news article, even if both use emotionally charged images. They can offer a perspective that the non-present journalist lacks.

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