Saxton, Loren Belle
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Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. News media flooded the Gulf Coast immediately after Katrina to report the disaster. This study analyzes Hurricane Katrina’s story as a disaster narrative in the New York Times, and concomitant external news releases from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to determine whether a link existed between the evolution of FEMA’s crisis response strategies and the Times’ coverage on Katrina. Using textual analysis, I discovered that Katrina’s story was not told as a traditional disaster narrative in the news, and FEMA’s news releases conveyed that the agency employed three major response strategies. There were similarities in language and tone in the Times articles and news releases that focused on the economic impact of Katrina, and the individualization of the crisis, which ultimately failed to recognize inherent social divides based on race and class.