By Kyle Deas
Graduate student, University of Missouri
It’s looking increasingly likely that Hurricane Irene will wreak havoc up and down the Eastern seaboard this weekend. As the storm gathers strength and speed, you may be wondering how to cover its landing and the aftermath.
This past week, after an earthquake hit Virginia, we published a blog post called “Breaking New Tips: Resources to cover earthquakes, other natural disasters.” Some of the resources listed in that post were specific to earthquakes, but many also apply to covering hurricanes, including:
There are many other resources listed there, so check out the full blog post.
The next few days will be full of harried breaking-news coverage by reporters. But hurricanes are so vast and destructive that they often have a serious effect on people’s lives, and great investigative stories have been written months or even years after a hurricane has blown through.
For ideas for day-of coverage, here are some tipsheets you can check out:
To give your readers some context about similar storms in the past, you can also check out IRE’s comprehensive Storm Events database.
In the aftermath of the hurricane there are many avenues for additional investigative stories. You could look into the environmental effects of the hurricane or whether shoddy building codes aided in the destruction. Or you could follow the money and look at the effects of the hurricane on the local insurance market, as Paige St. John did for her Pulitzer Prize-winning series “Florida’s Insurance Nightmare” for the Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.).
Whichever angle you choose, one of these tipsheets will contain helpful information: