While much of the country has moved on from Hurricane Katrina, both the Sun Herald in Gulfport, Miss., and the New Orleans Times-Picayune remain dedicated to covering the aftermath of the largest natural disaster in modern American history, reports the New York Times. For their role in covering and enduring the storm, both papers have received accolades, and next week both may well receive Pulitzer Prizes, according to Editor & Publisher.
Both papers have struggled along with their communities, and during the recovery have faced some similar issues. Both have taken on new importance as news sources and as advocates in their communities. With buildings along 70 miles of the Gulf Coast reduced to matchsticks and parts of New Orleans abandoned and still without reliable electricity or phone service, The Sun Herald and Times-Picayune are connecting with readers the way newspapers did before the arrival of television. The big question, ultimately tied to the economic fortunes of their areas, is what kind of future these newspapers will have as news organizations and businesses.