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'Catastrophic failure' theories and disaster journalism : evaluating media explanations of the Black Saturday bushfires

Burns, Alex and Eltham, Ben 2010, 'Catastrophic failure' theories and disaster journalism : evaluating media explanations of the Black Saturday bushfires, Media international Australia, incorporating culture and policy, no. 137, pp. 90-99.

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Title 'Catastrophic failure' theories and disaster journalism : evaluating media explanations of the Black Saturday bushfires
Author(s) Burns, Alex
Eltham, BenORCID iD for Eltham, Ben orcid.org/0000-0003-4639-460X
Journal name Media international Australia, incorporating culture and policy
Issue number 137
Start page 90
End page 99
Total pages 10
Publisher University of Queensland
Place of publication Nathan, Qld
Publication date 2010-11
ISSN 1329-878X
2200-467X
Keyword(s) Catastrophic failure theories
Disaster journalism
Black Saturday bushfires
Summary  In recent decades, academic researchers of natural disasters and emergency management have developed a canonical literature on ‘catastrophe failure’ theories such as disaster responses from US emergency management services (Drabek, 2010; Quarantelli, 1998) and the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant (Perrow, 1999). This article examines six influential theories from this field in an attempt to explore why Victoria’s disaster and emergency management response systems failed during Australia’s Black Saturday bushfires. How well, if at all, are these theories understood by journalists, disaster and emergency management planners, and policy-makers? In examining the Country Fire Authority’s response to the fires, as well as the media’s reportage of them, we use the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires as a theory-testing case study of failures in emergency management, preparation and planning. We conclude that journalists can learn important lessons from academics’ specialist knowledge about disaster and emergency management responses.
Language eng
Field of Research 200104 Media Studies
160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment
Socio Economic Objective 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30053361

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Centre for Memory, Imagination and Invention
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Created: Mon, 01 Jul 2013, 19:47:00 EST by Ben Eltham

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