Twenty broadcasters from the Caribbean are completing CBA’s nine-week online course on Disaster Reporting, which started in March.

The intensive course has been written by Australian journalist-academics, Anthony Frangi and Trina McLellan, who both have considerable disaster reporting expertise. It has been designed for broadcasters covering both natural and human-instigated disasters, either in the field or from their stations.

Broadcasters in the Caribbean encounter and could expect to report on any number of disasters: hurricanes, floods, landslides, sea levels rises from global warming, earthquakes, volcanic activity, epidemics, fires, road accidents and violent crime. After the events themselves, reporting the fallout is also a challenging task.

The personal and professional toll on individual broadcasters can also be significant. And, for newcomers, the prospect of such coverage can be daunting. But can disaster reporting be done in such a way as to minimise harm to broadcasters and others? Can broadcasters build up resilience that will see them through not just one such event but perhaps more? There’s a growing body of evidence that says yes to both questions.

The course contains a range of practical activities, audio segments and in-built quizzes, accompanied by assessment tasks. Topics covered include information sources, logistical preparedness, emergency broadcast plan checklists, risk assessment, dealing with trauma, editorial ethics and broadcasting emergency information.

The broadcasters participating in the course come from a broad cross-section of the Caribbean: St Lucia, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Barbados, Antigua and Suriname.

The CBA is committed to helping its members to be well-prepared in the event of crises, disasters or emergencies. Our plans include running this course for members in other regions. We are grateful to Unesco for their support in developing the training.


Image: Hurricane Sandy aftermath in the Dominican Republic. Creative Commons/Plan International