WVU Panel Looks Into Charleston Water Spill

Graphic Detailing the Elk River zone of critical concern, from downstream strategies new report.

Monday evening, a special panel will be discussing the recent water spill into the Elk River.

This panel will be made up of journalists who covered the event, which affected the water supply of about 300,000 state residents.

This panel at West Virginia University is designed to analyze local and national coverage of this event. It will also discuss how crisis news coverage has changed, in today’s digital news media environment.

Maryanne Reed is the dean of West Virginia University’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism.

We realized this was both a local and a national story. We felt the coverage was so strong that we needed to elevate it, and how this was an example of the continued need for strong, local journalism,” said Reed.

The panelists include reporters, news anchors, photographers, and a professor of American literature and cultural studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College, who also blogs. Reed says she hopes audience members take a great deal from the event.

I hope that the audience and the students understand there is a continued need for boots on the ground, local journalism. Nothing can replace that. Journalists who have sources, who understand the community, and are willing to dig for information,” she said.

“At the same time, the tools available to journalists now allow them to tell stories in ways they couldn’t before. In fact, that coverage can be deeper and really more interactive with the addition of social media tools.”

The panel discussion is part of a series at the university called “The Future of Media-NOW!,” which tackles how journalism is being covered in the 21st century.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting will broadcast this discussion at a later date.