TCF instructor, students assist after Hurricane Sandy

TCF instructor Chandra Clark and UA senior Ashley Swafford were part of a team that traveled to the Northeast to assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery and to work on a documentary about coverage by local broadcasters before, during and after the event.

Dr. Chandra Clark, instructor in the department of telecommunication and film, is producing the second in a series of mini-documentaries demonstrating the coverage by local broadcasters before, during and after Hurricane Sandy.

The Broadcast Education Association and the National Association of Broadcasters teamed Clark with the head of Media Arts at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Scott Hodgson, for the second time to conduct interviews and coverage following a major disaster. Clark serves as the producer and Hodgson is the director and editor of the project with the help of graduate and undergraduate students from both universities.

The filming took place Nov. 13-21  in the New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC markets. Their crew conducted 33 post-hurricane interviews at 14 different radio and television stations for an account of broadcasters’ response to the storms as well as compiling footage and audio stories from those different markets. The interviews included anchors, reporters, meteorologists, news directors, and general managers who dedicated financial resources and staff to ensure that people were informed when Hurricane Sandy came ashore October 29.  So far, 135 deaths are attributed to Hurricane Sandy.

The interviews also included NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Williams grew up along the Jersey shore and has anchored the show from various locations as well as continuing to cover the recovery effort. Governor Chris Christie was on the radio at New Jersey’s 101.5 WKXW-FM the night Hurricane Sandy came on shore warning people to evacuate and continues to inform constituents about the process of dealing with federal and state issues during a disaster. Hodgson and Clark interviewed Christie following his monthly broadcast Tuesday, November 20th on WKXW as he answered questions by listeners about the different situations they were facing.

Clark and Hodgson’s production of “Tornado Emergency: Saving Lives” won a Telly Award and Best of Competition Award by the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts in 2011. The mini-documentary highlighted broadcasters in Tuscaloosa and Joplin after the 2011 tornadoes that devastated those two towns.

The documentaries are produced to make federal policy makers aware of the role of broadcasters in the time of disasters in light of the proposed sell-off of a large portion of the broadcast spectrum.

Clark also has created a website to share the stories of some of the families she met while in New Jersey. You can also view Clark talking to WVUA’s Danny Salter on the network’s First at Four program.