6B.3 News Media, Black Women, and Hurricane Katrina: Comparing Localized Content to Local Perceptions

Saturday, 14 November 2009: 9:20 AM
Candace M. Calloway, Howard University, Washington, DC

This mixed-method study examines the local news coverage of Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster that hit the Gulf Coast region of the United States in 2005, with respect to the experiences of one vulnerable group - poor African-American women. The purpose of this investigation was to discover how the mainstream and Black newspapers along the Gulf Coast covered the personal, social, economic, and political issues that one representative sample of predominately poor and marginalized African-American female population living along that coast said concerned them most during and after the Katrina storm. First, a textual analysis of 38 oral testimonies from a representative group of women, posted on two popular Internet websites, was performed in order to identify the central concerns they held and problems they faced during and following the storm. Next, those concerns were then compared to the coverage of three local Gulf Coast newspapers, including a Black press publication. The content analysis found a low representation of women throughout each paper, yet the Black press publication had the highest percentage of quotes on topics that concerned African-American women.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner