Posted by: karitaylor | January 12, 2008

“It’s sort of like what Girl Scouts do when they go camping.”

Dave Walker – Media Reporter, the Times-Picayune 1/11/08

We sat down and had a conversation with Dave Walker from the Pulitzer Prize winning Times-Picayune newspaper this afternoon. Walker has reported on media issues in the New Orleans area for more than decade. Although our project is focused on radio, his insights on the New Orleans media market gave us an historical perspective on the significance of radio broadcasts during Katrina. We spoke to him about how the radio helped to manage different situations during Katrina.

The Times-Picayune is located in New Orleans and makes its home in a building that was made to weather serious storms. A bunker, as Walker described it. “It used to be that the staff and their families would come here and bring their pets and ride out the storm here. And then 2 or 3 days later go home and clean up; but we don’t do that anymore.” Walker evacuated his family first and then went to Baton Rouge to meet them where electricity could provide him access to television and radio signals, the bread and butter of his reporting.

When asked about the radio and how people were listening during Katrina’s aftermath he described road conditions in ballooned Baton Rouge, “The traffic was so horrible in Baton Rouge…people were listening as captives in their cars.” The population of Baton Rouge doubled overnight as New Orleanians sought shelter there.

We captured images of Walker visiting our group and recorded his interview. The segment below highlights his comments on an indiscriminate Hurricane Katrina’s wrath and the importance of Hispanic radio during the storm.




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