The 2010 Earthquake And Media In Haiti: Journalistic Transformations, Democracy And The Politics Of Disaster.
This dissertation explains the role that Haiti's leading mainstream and alternative news outlets have played in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that devastated the island nation of Haiti. The role of the media as a civic institution that acts on behalf of and in alliance with civil society in times of crisis is the central theme of this dissertation. Prior research has demonstrated that Haiti's media has been at the heart of such a role in civic society throughout the country's two hundred plus years of independent existence. This dissertation argues that this media tradition has been revitalized, strengthened and put to the test by the current crisis the country faces in physical reconstruction from natural disaster, political reconstruction from fragile early attempts at democracy, and social reconstruction from decades of economic stagnation that have exacerbated poverty and living conditions of the average Haitian. This project uses a mixed methodological approach of qualitative methods and basic quantitative methods to analyze how Haitian journalists have covered the aftermath of the disaster. This research addressed three key elements: (1) the impact of the disaster on the fractions that existed within the leading news media outlets during the nation's ongoing experiment with democracy (2) the impact of the disaster on how journalists view and practice their profession (3) the impact of the disaster on the quality of news being produced in Haiti. Findings indicate that there was an initial solidarity reborn among key Haitian news outlets that has sustained itself four years into the crisis. The solidarity born out of this most recent crisis has resulted in changes in how journalists approach their civic duty, despite commercial strains, and how they cooperate through sharing of news content and resources. These changes are seen across all media platforms. Additionally, Haitian media outlets have taken joint stances on developments in the country since the 2010 disaster that has resulted in news content that is more critical of those who hold power, and more concerned with advocacy on behalf of the Haitian people in general. At a time when the Haitian people are searching for a path forward, Haiti's media is providing a powerful platform to debate the course of the country's future.