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Narratives of natural disaster survivors in Indonesian media

Volume 24, Issue 1

July, 2018

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Irawanto, B. (2018). Narratives of natural disaster survivors in Indonesian media. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 24(1), 37-51.
The case of Tempo magazine
Author(s): Budi Irawanto
Publication date: 
July, 2018

Dubbed as the ‘ring of fire,’, Indonesian territories have witnessed many forms of natural disasters such as volcano eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis, which had been widely reported in the mass media. While the media has reported the scale of destruction and number of casualties caused by those disasters, they have also narrated dramatic recounts of the survivors. Imbued with spectacular imagery, the media seek to appeal to the audiences emotionally and evoke sentiments of solidarity as well as humanitarian actions. Employing a textual analysis of media reports in Indonesia, particularly from the weekly news magazine Tempo, this study explores the way in which the media frame the narratives of the survivors of natural disasters (volcano eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis) across Indonesia. Although the media are expected to report events objectively, this study demonstrates the affective element in the practice of journalism on natural disasters. Therefore, this study will contribute to the growing research on the relationship between media and disasters, particularly in the context of a disaster-prone country such as Indonesia. In particular, it will contribute to the body of journalism research which looks at the role of narrating the human subject in tragic events such as natural disasters.