This study explored the phenomenon of “star disaster-affected areas” created by media in Taiwan and its consequences. Taitung County was chosen as the study subject since it was covered in a biased large amount in 2009 Typhoon Morakot unprecedentedly. A content analysis of four major newspapers, in-depth interviews, and field research in Chialan and Dawu Township founds that media is the key player to create “star disaster-affected areas.” The factors of being “star disaster-affected areas” are the degree of impacted severity in the areas, the numbers of affected residents, casualty and death tolls, accessibility to affected areas, and most importantly human interests and visual impacts for better media storytelling. The consequences include uneven resources distributions and unfair reaction and recovery policies. This study provided implications for media workers, disaster management actors, residents, and media scholars to revisit ethics and theory to fit it the characteristics of disaster news and above all, disaster and communication scholars to develop an interdisciplinary study to facilitate disaster management.
Star disaster-affected areas Media hype Typhoon Morakot Disaster and communication interdisciplinary study Disaster management Taiwan
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This study is funded by National Science Council (#99-2625-M-004-003-). The author would like to thank the reviewers and those who have helped this study all over the world.
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