riparian rap

Flood disasters are always old news.

We’re about to see the biggest Lower Mississippi flood in history.   Parts of Memphis are being evacuated, and the Mississipi Delta may be in for the worst it’s ever seen.

Terrorists who could never match these floods dominate the front page.  Tornadoes, rightly so.

Shallow news coverage sets us up for another flood disaster.  We’ll never have a sustainable, just, flood policy without sober, scientific, post-flood policy development.  We hoped for this after  the 1993 floods, but it didn’t happen.

Example:  $2.2 billion in new development has occurred in the St. Louis area alone on land that was under water in 1993.

In 2007 SIUC’s Global Media Research Center asked me to give a talk about media coverage of floods. The Center videotaped and published it.

In thirty minutes I cover flood science and how the media sees it.

If you’re a reporter, please watch this.  I promise you this (low quality) video will change the way you view floods and improve your reporting.

If you’re interested in the crazy way media covers flood damage and poor black people (Cairo) versus, well, other people (farmers, guys who build merry-go-rounds), skip to around 30:00. And to 31:44 for stomach churning commentary by Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly.