MEDIANZ: Mediatisation of the Canterbury Earthquakes

Since the Canterbury earthquakes, the earthquakes, recovery, and rebuild have dominated local media in Christchurch, and maintained a presence in national news. Newspapers, radio, and television media have covered stories of individual struggles and successes, as well as the wider story of the demolition, recovery, and rebuild of Christchurch. The media’s extended coverage of the earthquakes indicates that these stories resonate with the New Zealand public even four years after the events. However, with many New Zealanders living out of Christchurch, it also suggests that for most people the Canterbury earthquakes have been a primarily mediated experience.

Recently the Media Studies Journal of Aotearoa New Zealand (MEDIANZ) published a special issue about the mediatisation of the Canterbury earthquakes. Edited by Zita Joyce and Luke Goode, the issue examines the role of media in times of crisis, using the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes as a case study. The five articles and introduction from this journal have been added to CEISMIC this week. The topics covered include: the vital role of radio after the 4 September 2010 earthquake, the emergence of crisis mapping in disaster management and communications, and the role ‘traditional’ news media’ played after the 22 February 2011 earthquake.

Heroic Radio: a study of radio responses to the aftermath of the September 2010 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand

“Heroic Radio” is a case study conducted by Ruther Zanker from the New Zealand Broadcasting School at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology. The case study examines radio’s performance in the immediate aftermath of the 4 September 2010 earthquake. Zanker uses media commentary, interviews, and transcripts of broadcasts to compare the performances of Radio New Zealand National, the Radio Network’s Newstalk ZB all-night talkback show with Bruce Russell, and MediaWorks’ Radio Live overnight talkback show with Dudley Stace. Through these comparisons she explores the role of radio after the 4 September 2010 earthquake and during future crises.

Against the Odds: community access radio broadcasting during the Canterbury Earthquakes – some reflection on Plains FM 96.9

“Against the Odds” is a paper written by Brian Pauling, programme leader and researcher at the New Zealand Broadcasting School of CPIT in Christchurch, and Nicki Reece, manager of the Plains FM radio station. Pauling and Reece interviewed staff, volunteers, and broadcasters from Plains FM about their experience in the aftermath of the 4 September 2010 earthquake. The interviews were used to examine the unique role Plains FM played in the days following the earthquake. Pauling and Reece also attempted to locate the interviewees’ stories within the concepts of civic engagement, social utility, and media theory.

Social Media, Crisis Mapping and the Christchurch Earthquakes of 2011

This article examines the emergence of crisis mapping in the aftermath of disasters. Crisis mapping is a modern technique where information from social media, text messages, satellite images, and traditional news channels are geo-referenced and plotted on maps. These maps are updated continuously as new information is received or events unfold, giving users a real-time representation of events where and when they occur. This article examines whether the use of crisis mapping in Christchurch after the 22 February 2011 earthquake has been described and contextualised. It also considers whether the benefits of crisis mapping and other technologies based off shared public information have been adequately examined. crisis communications on shaky ground

This article uses quantitative and qualitative survey data to challenge the perceptions that social media and new technologies are widely accessible and useful during a natural disaster.  It explores the way that complex urban infrastructures become perceived as simple objects (‘blackboxing’) until they fail during natural disasters (‘un-blackboxing’). The articles also investigates the way that location affects the use and availability of social media and other technologies during disasters by examining the information-seeking methods of residents in different parts of Christchurch after the 22 February 2011 earthquake.

Quake Aftermath: Christchurch journalists’ collective trauma experience and the implications for their reporting

“Quake Aftermath” was written by Sean Scanlon, news editor of The Press newspaper and tutor for the University of Canterbury Journalism Diploma programme. It uses a theory of collective trauma to analyse 33 one-on-one interviews with Christchurch-based journalists working for broadcast outlets after the 22 February 2011 earthquake. Scanlon argues that journalists had “a greater identification and attachment to their audience post-earthquake” and that this attachment leads them to “view sources differently, use those sources differently, and see advocacy as a keystone of their news works after the disaster”.