Covering Disasters is the result of an eight-month investigation spearheaded by the Ryerson Review of Journalism’s digital senior editor and copy chief, Daina Goldfinger. The project explores how journalists report on natural disasters, their experiences covering them, what natural disasters mean in a Canadian context, and the effects of disaster coverage on various communities.

When figuring out the scope of Covering Disasters, the RRJ struggled with how to define them. Should the human-caused catastrophes that were dominating headlines alongside natural disasters in late 2017 be included? As the RRJ started working on the project, it became clear that there was a need to limit the scope of the investigation. The RRJ chose to focus on natural disasters, and discovered that many of the insights journalists and experts shared are also applicable to other types of disasters.

Through this effort, the RRJ set out to discover how media companies and journalists can better cover natural disasters, which led to the half-day conference Covering Disasters: a critical lensRRJ beat coverageand this six-part multimedia package.