The Politics of Disaster Reporting: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of News Reports on Typhoon Lando


Much of what we know about the politics of disaster reporting is limited to a straightforward knowledge of what stakeholders do during crises. Largely unnoticed in previous studies of this topic is the extent by which other modes apart from language are utilized for ideological purposes and the textual mechanisms through which these can be challenged. This paper addresses the issue of representing social action in the online news reportage of Typhoon Lando and its contribution to the maintenance of power asymmetries in Philippine disaster risk reduction. For that purpose, it asks how semiotic resources are used to represent the efforts of stakeholders, in what way are these shaped by the discursive practices of journalism, and who are mainly passivated/activated by these representations and at what cost. To answer these questions, twenty-eight (28) news reports from were examined using content analysis before interpreting their meanings and explaining their implications to society through the framework of critical discourse analysis. The core argument of the paper is that even as journalists banked on the presupposed inequality between Lando stakeholders in producing marketable news reports, their conservative representation of the present order may still be scrutinized in other communicative spaces because texts are always open to re-contextualization. Overall, it is suggested that future research into the politics of disaster reporting must take into account the lived experiences of those who actually read and write news reports as part of a broader effort of enhancing the critical media literacy skills of ordinary people.

Author Information
Karl Patrick Mendoza, De La Salle University, The Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2018
Stream: Media Disaster Coverage

This paper is part of the MediAsia2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon