July 11, 2019

As Barry is upgraded to a tropical storm — and could become a hurricane — we wanted to make sure journalists and those in the field know what they could be getting into.

We’re republishing and updating our collection of Poynter articles about covering hurricanes — stories that include lessons learned, best practices and examples of newsrooms responding to tragedy in their own communities.

We’ve also gathered some of our most helpful links and training.

Quick links

Read and share

Additional helpful tips:

  • Don’t race out to cover the storm if you are not prepared. You can put yourself, and others, at risk. There are plenty of other ways to tell good stories.
  • Check the charities. Before you report on any relief work, check an organization’s track record. (You can see 990s on Guidestar.) Find out where their money has gone in the past and if they do what they said they would do.
  • Be skeptical of user-submitted photos. Check the meta-data or do a reverse image search through TinEye, RevEye (a Chrome add-on) or Google.
  • Choose your words carefully. Avoid subjective adjectives such as “monster” or “storm of the century.” Be factual and inform your audience with objective nouns.
  • Think social first. Online is a great way to connect with your audience before the storm hits. Then they can find you while the power is out. Get active now with social media and online. Point your viewers to tools that can help them stay in touch with one another, too, such as Facebook’s Safety Check.


For our permanent repository of hurricane coverage, click here.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
A Poynter Staff byline indicates a variety of reporters contributed to an article, or that it represents the viewpoint of the overall staff. Where possible,…
Poynter Staff

More News

Back to News