USD—On Thursday, February 6, 2013, National Public Radio Mexico City correspondant Carrie Kahn spoke with University of San Diego students about her work over the last decade reporting on disasters and disaster relief efforts in the United States, Mexico and Haiti.
Kahn’s work on reporting disasters includes stories on Hurricanes Wilma, Rita, and Katrina in 2005, as well as reporting on the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and recent flooding in Acapulco in 2013. During her career, Kahn helped track down a fellow reporter that was stranded during a hurricane, and was the first reporter to break the story on euthanasia during Katrina. After years of reporting on these difficult situations, Kahn noted that disaster exposes all of the weaknesses of both a government and society, but it can also create opportunities for officials and communities to prepare for future catastrophes.
She talked about the challenges of disaster reporting, including the risk of personal harm, the difficulty of conveying the realities of the situation on the ground, the ethical decisions reporters face when they encounter disaster victims, where the money goes in disaster relief, keeping the public informed disasters that often last far longer than the 24-hour media cycle, and (importantly) what to pack for disaster reporting.