Student media will cover Katrina cleanup

Ben Breier

Representatives from the Daily Kent Stater, TV-2 and Uhuru are going to be celebrating their Spring Break in an unconventional manner by documenting Hurricane Katrina cleanup in Biloxi, Miss.

Ryan Loew, editor-in-chief of the Daily Kent Stater, has extensive plans for the Stater to report on the cleanup.

“Other than being a unique Spring Break for them, it’s a unique experience for our coverage,” Loew said. “We will be covering news, but at the same time it’s about the personal experience of it.”

Lori Cantor, senior business manager in the Office of Student Media, spearheaded efforts to send members of student media to the Biloxi area by contacting all student media leaders by e-mail.

Cantor said this is the first time student media have covered a national disaster and a story of this magnitude on location.

“The students we are sending will bring back great material of the relief effort to share with the university community,” Cantor said. “It’s great experience for the students we are sending and an excellent chance to expand their portfolios.”

Student affairs reporter Aman Ali said he is excited by the prospect of covering things outside of his beat on the Stater.

“I get to do a little bit of exploring,” Ali said.

Ali said covering the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina will be similar to covering stories in a Third World country because of the devastation.

“It’s not like covering war in Iraq or Africa, but it’s the closest I’ll get to it in my college career,” he said. “I’ll probably never get a chance in my college career to cover something like this again – because of that, I will be putting every amount of my blood, sweat and tears into this.”

Gavin Jackson, assistant photo editor of the Stater, said he is looking forward to the intensity of photographing the cleanup.

“It’ll be good to shoot for a week straight,” Jackson said. “I’ll be immersed in the story, and I’ll have to rely on everything I’ve learned in the past.”

TV-2 general manager Brian Handler has plans to compare and contrast cleanup efforts in Biloxi, Pass Christian and New Orleans. He said he would like to be able to put together a 44-minute documentary when he is finished.

Handler and other members of TV-2 have plans to work with WLOX, an ABC affiliate out of Biloxi. TV-2 staff members possibly will be using the station’s workspace.

“If student media wasn’t covering this, they’d be missing out on a good story,” Handler said.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].