The Media and Disasters: Pan Am 103

Deppa, Joan; Russell, Maria; Hayes, Dona; Flocke, Elizabeth

Published by NYU Press
ISBN 10: 0814718574 / ISBN 13: 9780814718575
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The lucidly written, sobering account of how the press fared in covering the tragedy and how news organizations might improve on their disasters coverage in the future.
--Quill

On a bitter December night in 1988, Pan Am Flight 103, the Maid of the Seas, flying from Frankfurt to New York, exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. Among the victims were citizens from over 21 countries, 11 villagers, and 35 Syracuse University students returning home from studying abroad. The bombing set in motion a drama of epic proportions, played out on television screens and newspaper pages around the world.
Scenes from the tragedy etched themselves on the public consciousness: a screaming mother at Kennedy Airport, collapsing upon learning of the fate of her child; flames engulfing the modest homes of Lockerbie; weeping Syracuse University students in mourning at a basketball game; the mangled cockpit of the jumbo jet resting in an idyllic Scottish meadow.
Behind these scenes, another drama unfolded: Hundreds of journalists swarmed to the traumatized village. In New York, scores of reporters, photographers, and cameramen rushed to the airport to record the reactions of bereaved family members. All over the country, people watched the names of the dead scrolling across their televisions, many praying for those presumed to be on board. The disaster also engulfed institutions, many unprepared to mediate between the public's need for informations and the need for privacy by those most affected.
In engrossing detail, THE MEDIA AND DISASTERS chronicles the story behind the headlines, illustrating how the media and the people it encounter in pursuit of the news experienced and affected the journalistic process. The book addresses, in narrative fashion, the universal themes common to most tragedies, emphasizing the increasingly powerful role of the media and its agents in representing such catastrophes to the world.
Joan Deppa and her coauthors, all of whom witnessed the effects of this media coverage at Syracuse University, focus on reactions to the disaster--individual and collective. Journalists, police, government officials, rescue workers, and witnesses all had to make important ethical decisions immediately, under conditions of great stress:

--how should families of the victims be informed?
--What could journalists do to get the story without adding to the distress of grieving families and friends?
--should the terrible human carnage of such a disaster be conveyed--in words, in photographs, on television?

One particularly telling debate on these issues pits editors of the New York Daily Newsagainst those of Newsday.
The destruction of Flight 103 forever altered the media landscape. It marked a watershed moment in media history, a turning point in the global coverage of disasters. Just as the Gulf War was piped directly into living rooms two years later, disasters were now live events. THE MEDIA AND DISASTERS is must reading for anyone interested in journalism, communications, the evolution of the media, and institutional responses to disaster.

About the Author:

The authors are all professors in the Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Media and Disasters: Pan Am 103
Publisher: NYU Press
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New

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Joan Deppa, Maria Russell, Dona Hayes, Elizabeth Flocke
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Deppa, Joan (with Maria Russell, Dona Hayes, and Elizabeth Lynne Flocke)
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Book Description New York University Press, New York, 1994. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. no illus (illustrator). 1st Edition. 8vo, 346 pp GOOD: shelfworn w/pgs 105 thru 114 creased; dj worn, chips. Seller Inventory # 016667

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Book Description New York Univ Press, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1994. hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Signed and inscribed by author on ffep. Signed by Author. Seller Inventory # CN0026721amz

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Joan Deppa; Maria Russell; Dona Hayes; Elizabeth Flocke
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Deppa, Joan, Russell, Maria, Hayes, Dona, Flocke, Elizabeth
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