Media users of the 21st century have more options and outlets than ever before for acquiring information and obtaining entertainment. As this rise of modern media has occurred, the coverage of disasters, risks, and crises—both natural and manmade—has shifted. Media often report on disasters and the subsequent response to a disaster as a humanitarian news story. Much coverage is centered on the breaking or sudden aspect of an event (denoted by breaking news in many cases), which usually follows with a rapid loss of airtime as the event subsides or the details surrounding it become clearer. Today’s disaster coverage can be found in original legacy media forms and on newer platforms such as social media.

A disaster can be defined as a sudden and often unexpected ...

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