Reporting Hurricane Michael; disenfranchising voters; fighting bias

October 11, 2018
Category: Newsletters

On Sunday it was nothing. By Tuesday, it was barely a hurricane. By Wednesday, with 155 mph winds, Hurricane Michael crashed ashore in the Florida Panhandle as, by one measure, the strongest hurricane to hit the continental United States since Camille in 1969. Even as it weakened to 125 mph top winds, Michael was the first major hurricane to hit Georgia since 1898, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Here's a roundup of headlines and resources for coverage in the days ahead:


— Its "rapid intensification" since Sunday was nurtured in Gulf of Mexico waters that were 4 degrees warmer than seasonal averages, The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer reports. 

— More than 375,000 people were urged to evacuate, but many did not, the AP reports. One evacuee, John Hargan, told the AP: “We basically just walked away from everything and said goodbye to it.”

— The hunt for survivors. "It will take days to get to everyone," the Panama City (Florida) News Herald reports.

— Hundreds of thousands of people in Florida were without power, reported The Washington Post's Matt Berman and Luz Lazo. 

— Thousands more lost power in Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, adding that Michael's winds weakened to 75 mph by 11 p.m., as it approached Macon.

— When Michael touched land, "this whole hotel was shuddering like it was an L.A. earthquake." Via the NYT's Richard Fausset in Panama City.


— A Twitter list of local media outlets, weather officials and emergency responders

— Limited connectivity? CNN is among others with a light, text-only website and will offer a geo-targeted website to readers in the Southeast. A few other sites offer text-only versions.

— Bring pencils and 49 other things hurricane reporting vets know. By Kristen Hare.

— A dozen tools for reporting on hurricanes. By Ren LaForme.

— How to stop misinformation about the storm. By Daniel Funke.

— Why are storms getting more violent now? An explainer by Somini Sengupta.

Other stories

NEWS CARRIERS SHOT AT: Police are investigating the pre-dawn shooting of a car carrying a husband and wife delivering newspapers in northern Idaho. Both were unhurt. “I haven’t quit shaking yet,” Donna Correll told the Lewiston Tribune. “My body just trembles.”

SAUDI PRINCE GAVE THE ORDER: The Washington Post cites U.S. intelligence sources in saying the operation against dissident journalist and Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi was ordered by Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Shane Harris's story begs the question: If U.S. phone intercepts uncovered the plan before Khashoggi's Oct. 2 disappearance in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, why didn't the Trump administration warn Khashoggi his life might be in danger? A 2015 directive requires the U.S. government to do so.

RELATED: The New York Times already has dropped out. Will Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox Business Network and CNN remain as "media partners" for a conference in Saudi Arabia after the Saudi leader's reported role in the disappearance of Khashoggi? Fox Business and CNN tell Erik Wemple that they are evaluating it. … Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has suspended participation in a futuristic Saudi mega-city plan "given current events." It is unclear whether the initiative's other participants, listed as including Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, Facebook board member Marc Andreessen and Y Combinator President Sam Altman, will remain.

LOCALIZE THIS: Georgia's GOP secretary of state, now running for governor, purged 670,000 voters from the rolls last year, the AP reports. Seventy percent of the 53,000 registrations "on hold" in his office (he's also administering Georgia's election) are African Americans. What's the count in your state? Related: The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed North Dakota to use a voter ID measure that effectively disenfranchises many Native Americans. The new provision requires a "street" address, and many Native Americans, living in rural areas not served by U.S. Postal Service street mail, use a post office box to match tribal IDs.

THE (CINEMATIC) PANAMA PAPERS: The Pulitzer-winning multinational investigative project into money laundering is getting both a documentary and a Steven Soderbergh film. Alex Winter’s documentary is premiering on the premium channel EPIX on Nov. 26. Netflix has committed to Soderbergh’s film, “The Laundromat,” Deadline Hollywood reported. “The Laundromat” stars Gary Oldman, Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, David Schwimmer and Will Forte.

OLD NEWSDAY HQ SOLD: Tribune sold the former home of Newsday, part of a 48-acre complex in Melville, Long Island, for $54.5 million. The new owner plans to demolish the newspaper building for a warehouse and distribution space, Axios reported.

GENDER BIAS, EVEN IN FACT-CHECKING: The feminist fact-checking project NewsMavens wants to “counterbalance the dominant male perspective” in European media outlets, said Tijana Cvjetićanin, research coordinator for Bosnian fact-checking site Istinomjer and editorial lead of FemFacts. “Even if women make a huge part of the journalism workforce, they’re very underrepresented in the editorial boards.” By Poynter’s Daniel Funke. 

GOOD NEWS: More than 70 New York restaurants are helping save New York's eroding harbor — an oyster shell at a time. They are donating their half shells to a volunteer group that is building a reef in the harbor, NPR's Andrea Strong reports.

AWARDED: The Miami Herald's Jacqueline Charles won the Maria Moors Cabot award last night for her decades of unparalleled coverage of Haiti and the Caribbean. Charles thanked editor in chief Mindy Marquez and world affairs editor Amy Driscoll. “The commitment of my newsroom … tells the world that the Caribbean and specifically Haiti is not a foreign news story. For us, It is local news."

MOVES: Wired senior editor Jessi Hempel moves to LinkedIn, where she will be a senior editor at large. … Laura Evans has moved from The New York Times to become SVP of data at Disney Streaming Services.

BACK: After a few weeks away, Jennifer Lyons has returned as news director of Chicago’s WGN. Lyons quit last month to become a VP at Catholic Extension, a Chicago-based fundraising organization that supports and strengthens poor mission dioceses nationwide. But, Robert Feder reports, Lyons says her heart is in news. (h/t Al Tompkins)

FRAUD: Newsweek's parent company charged in a $10 million fraud scheme, The Hill reports. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

On Poynter:

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Have a good Thursday. See you tomorrow.