Gulf Coast history did not begin with Hurricane Katrina, nor does it end with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster. This chapter explores the timelines of the two events and gives an introductory analysis of the crisis media coverage. This chapter defines the Gulf Coast region, paints a picture of the people and the communities, as well as provides a brief overview of Louisiana history in terms of media and politics. Across all crisis stages, public perceptions and information needs change as disasters progress – and these changes are often disaster-specific and have different effects on those who experience them. This introduction defines the fundamentals of good journalism that make information transmission effective, and the different roles of national and local media. The two crises link the region together but will help inform a broader community of the importance of crisis media coverage and its effects on those who consume it.
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