BILOXI, MISS– Just hours after Hurricane Katrina, national media outlets sent reporters by jet to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, to tell the story.
It’s a story that Rebecca Powers, former anchor for WLOX TV, says was missed by the networks.
“They were banging on our back door to go out for the stories,” says Powers, “our reporters were glad to go with them.”
Powers says she didn’t travel with the network reporters, but stayed behind for the newscasts. When it was time for the prime time shows to air, Powers says the studio was crowded with people, wanting to see how the reporters covered the story on a national scale.
“Mississippi wasn’t mentioned for the first eight minutes,” says Powers, “it was all Superdome. It was all rape! Rape at the Superdome! The prejudice! The people not leaving because of flooding buses.”
Powers says that her news crew around her responded with anger, confusion, and even tears.
“They’re going to make this sensational?” says Powers, “because it’s sexy for the networks.”
Powers adds that it was at that moment, national outlets missed the mark.
“This was ground zero, right where we were,” says Powers, “Waveland was the target. Ninety percent of Waveland was gone.”
Here’s what Powers had to say about the national media coverage: