Less than two weeks after Harvey devastated parts of Texas, an even larger storm is churning through the Atlantic. Hurricane Irma has already left Barbuda “barely habitable” after passing directly over the small Caribbean island. Packing winds of up to 185 mph, the Category 5 storm has battered Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
In the US, media has focused primarily on the threat to Florida, where more than six million people live in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Newspapers, including The Miami Herald and The Orlando Sentinel, have dropped their paywalls to offer readers free access to coverage of the storm, which is expected to reach South Florida on Sunday.
Broadcast networks are sending top talent to the region, with ABC’s David Muir and NBC’s Lester Holt set to anchor their programs from Florida beginning tonight. Variety’s Brian Steinberg has more details on how “the nation’s TV-news outlets are preparing for another severe cycle.”
During Harvey, outstanding reporting helped raise awareness about the catastrophic conditions facing those in Southeast Texas, but the proliferation of eyewitness video and images also allowed for the spread of fake news. The same issue has already reared its head as Irma makes its way across the Caribbean. BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman debunked a year-old video shared on Facebook that’s purporting to show Irma’s destruction. It’s already been viewed more than 28 million times.
As of this morning, Irma has passed the northern coast of Puerto Rico, heading for Hispaniola and the Bahamas. Below, more on the coverage of another catastrophic storm.
- Important context from Puerto Rico: For The Washington Post, investigative journalist Carla Minet writes from Puerto Rico, where and economic crisis has left “an island whose resources to truly prepare for an emergency are already in grave doubt.”
- Eye of the storm: Last week, The Houston Chronicle produced exceptional journalism in the face of a regional disaster. Now, the Miami Herald is gearing up to take on a storm that could be bigger and more dangerous than 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, which devastated parts of Florida.
- Plotting Irma’s course: Projections have Irma hitting Florida and threatening Georgia and the Carolinas, but The Weather Channel’s Jon Erdman writes that “we’re still far enough out that key uncertainties remain.” The National Hurricane Center has regular updates about Irma’s progress.
- Advice for journalists: The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma has a helpful guide for reporters about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.
- Waiting it out: The Washington Post’s Francisco Alvarado checks in from Key West, where the streets are mostly empty, but the general manager of the Hemingway Museum and her six-toed cats are preparing to weather the storm.
Other notable stories
- Big news about Russia and the 2016 election: The Washington Post’s Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger, and Rosalind S. Helderman report that Facebook sold $100,000 in advertising to a firm tied to pro-Kremlin propaganda.
- Yesterday was packed with job moves. Veteran media reporter Michael Calderone is leaving HuffPost to return to Politico and The New York Times hired Michelle Goldberg as a columnist. Meanwhile, Scott Wilson is out as Washington Post national editor and Gannett is cutting more than 200 from its workforce.
- For CJR, Mary Annette Pember laments the closure of the Indian Country Today Media Network, where “writers dove into the complex historical and political underpinnings of [the] narrow depictions that define us in the legacy press.”
- The Cut’s Kaitlin Menza talks with The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman about Trump fatigue, social media, and her superhuman schedule.
- CJR’s Jon Allsop reports on a lawsuit in France, brought by the government of Azerbaijan, that threatens to “export censorship” across international borders.
- Two of the biggest names in magazine journalism have new pieces out. The New York Times Magazine’s Nikole Hannah-Jones examines one Alabama town’s attempt to secede from its school district and the reality of segregation in America. The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates looks at Donald Trump’s attempt to negate his predecessor’s legacy.