Finding that it is easier to catch flies with honey, Levees.org routinely awards Seals of Approval to journalists and reporters who resist fast easy but wrong Katrina ‘shorthand’ and who accurately describe the flood catastrophe of August 2005.
Today, Jaquetta White of the New Orleans Times Picayune will receive an SOA for her accurate depiction of the Great New Orleans Flood in a Sunday story.
Blaming the flooding on Hurricane Katrina is a practice that effectively denies the humans responsible behind the talk of Mother Nature. As recently noted by Lee Clarke, a Rutgers University disaster expert and author of the book Worst Cases, people seem to want to blame natural events “because if it’s nature or God, then we’re off the hook, morally and practically.”
Ms. White will join over two dozen other past SOA recipients at the Times Picayune including Brett Anderson, Bill Barrow, Cindy Chang, Kari DeQuine, Jeff Duncan, Gwen Filosa, Russell Gorden, Stephanie Grace, Matthew Hinton, Bruce Nolan, Laura Maggi, Anne Malone, Brendon McCarthy, Doug McCash, John Pope, Katy Reckdahl, Molly Reid, Gorden Russell, Mark Schleifstein, Annette Sisco, Kieth Spera. Dave Walker, Judy Walker, Bob Warren and Leslie Williams.
It is Levees.org’s hope that one day soon, the New Orleans Times Picayune shall issue a style alert so that all reporters of the 175-old paper use consistently similar terminology to describe the flooding catastrophe.
It seems logical to issue such an alert because with regard to the loss of life and property, only the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood of 1889, the Galveston, Texas hurricane of 1900, and the San Francisco, California earthquake and subsequent fire of 1906 caused as much destruction and suffering as the New Orleans flood of 2005.
A story about Levees.org’s Seal of Approval program was featured in the New York Times in 2010.
UPDATE: After this post, it was brought to my attention that TP columnist James Gill and reporter Benjamin Alexander-Bloch are also past recipients of the Levees.org Seal of Approval. That brings the total to twenty-eight.