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Covering Catastrophe — Review

Posted by: | December 2, 2009 | No Comment |
from Amazon

from Amazon

One common question TV viewers may have when watching a breaking news story unfold is: “What’s it like to be there?” That question is answered in “Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report September 11,” a collection of personal accounts recalling that bad day.

Allison Gilbert, co-editor, conceived the idea by journaling her experience while covering the attack for WNBC-TV in New York. Co-editors Phil Hirschkorn (CNN), Melinda Murphy (WPIX-TV) and Robyn Walensky (AP) also covered the story. Mitchell Stephens, author of our class textbook, is the fifth editor.

“Covering Catastrophe” is a chronological narrative of, in their own words, what the journalists experienced that day. More than 100 journalists, from both New York and Washington, contributed. Many of their stories are frightening — some even were injured when the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

This book is a different stripe from other books about 9/11 news coverage because of its simplicity. It does not engage in self-adulation nor in self-criticism. It also gives those working behind the camera a chance to tell their stories of that day and how they coped afterward.

The above reasons are why I recommend “Covering Catastrophe” as a must-read for everyone. Broadcast journalism was the primary medium by which people followed 9/11. This book provides a good “behind-the-scenes” angle of how the story was covered.

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