Taken together, these weather events represent a cascade of mutually-compounding crises: natural disasters, made worse (in the case of the fires, certainly, and possibly in the case of the hurricane, too) by climate change and harder to combat by the pandemic, in ways that have disproportionately impacted Black and other people of color due to the pervasive, intertwined legacies of racism and poverty. The news media finds such complexity disorienting at the best of times, which these are not: 2020 has spat out an ever-accelerating fusillade of bleak news, while simultaneously depleting newsroom resources and consigning many journalists to their couches. Reporters, especially on the local level, have worked tirelessly to situate the recent disasters in this broader context, even as they themselves have had to deal with evacuation orders, power outages, and exhaustion.
By Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review. August 27, 2020.