Quiet in the eye of the storm

Examining the quality and impact of media coverage of Hurricane Sandy

  • Caleb Symons Tufts University
Keywords: Hurricane Sandy, journalism, media bias, climate change, extreme weather events, global warming, risk perception, political mobilization


The United States has seen increases in the frequency and force of extreme weather events in recent years, both of which result from global climate change. As these storms take a great toll, physical and emotional, on communities across the country, they make painfully tangible the impact of what has long been an abstract concern. In order to demand effective solutions, however, citizens require an insightful, nuanced understanding of climate change’s destructive power. This study examines media coverage of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated much of the East Coast in 2012, to determine how and to what extent the U.S. media is responsible for public awareness of this issue. Quantitative and qualitative analyses reveal that coverage of Hurricane Sandy rarely linked the storm to climate change and often included the same biases that have plagued past climate reporting and suppress political mobilization.