by Ann Alquist, NCME’s Director of Radio Engagement
Public media can be the resource for communities in a crisis, especially in instances where severe weather is causing the crisis. Some years ago, KUYI on the Hopi reservation in northeast Arizona provided ongoing news and reports as the region was buffeted by blizzards, tornadoes, and floods.
These days, issues such as the current drought conditions affecting communities across the United States, are an opportunity for public media to be an essential resource that helps communities understand the long-term context around an event and get resources to stay safe. Many stations in communities affected by the drought are playing this role right now.
Support your community during the drought
Locally and regionally, stations are addressing the information needs of communities seeking context and resources as the drought persists. If the drought is effecting your area, here are a few of the ways you can follow suit in responding to your community’s needs:
- Consider asking your community about their experience with the drought. Harvest Public Media is using the Public Insight Network to inform ongoing coverage of the drought by soliciting responses through a simple survey.
- Provide a list of resources to help your community understand and react to the drought. Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio teamed up to provide insights from the University of Wisconsin about how to protect soil and grass, as well as a list of resources to help communities through the university’s extension service.
- Use social media to share heat and crisis-coping ideas. USA Today pinned this picture of items that help you survive heatwaves and power outages.
- Share the national narrative of the drought to create larger understanding. StateImpact Texas, a collaboration between KUT in Austin and KUHF in Houston, created an interactive map showing how the drought has reached across the country over time. PBS News Hour, National Public Radio and Marketplace created stories showcasing national effects of the drought.
How is your station responding to this issue? Share your story with us.