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Oil and WaterMedia Lessons from Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Disaster$
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Andrea Miller, Shearon Roberts, and Victoria LaPoe

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781617039720

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617039720.001.0001

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Sources and Accuracy in Disaster

Sources and Accuracy in Disaster

(p.100) 5 Sources and Accuracy in Disaster
Oil and Water

Andrea Miller

Shearon Roberts

Victoria LaPoe

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter will explore the journalistic sources used in the Hurricane Katrina and Deepwater Horizon coverage. Factors such as race, proximity, knowledge, and accuracy are considered. Content analyses showed a lack of diversity in official sources in Katrina. Additionally, there was a lack of questioning of sources by journalists. The Katrina journalists were too close to their official sources and unintentionally helped shape some narratives that were later found to be false. In the oil spill, journalists used sources who were not “experts” on the complex scientific narrative but instead had political or environmental agendas. The science community is also interviewed to get their professional opinions on the experts who weighed in on the oil crisis. This chapter argues the often incorrect or conflicting narratives shaped by sources helped create confusion or anxiety about the stories.

Keywords:   Sourcing, Accuracy, Scientific narrative, Hurricane Katrina, Deepwater Horizon oil disaster

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