Wednesday, August 29, 2007

misleading headline of the day

From Discovery Channel news feed: Two years later, New Orleans still sinking.

The article itself is quite good - it discusses a recent paper in Geophysical Research Letters by Roy Dokka, Erik Ivins, and Ronald Bloom, who have been modeling observed subsidence data from New Orleans. Their conclusion, apparently (I haven't read the article), is that the subsidence is driven by the weight of the Mississippi River sediments, rather than by things like groundwater extraction.

But the headline seems to imply that Hurricane Katrina caused the sinking of New Orleans... although New Orleans was below sea level long before the levees broke.

I love the culture of New Orleans. I love the music, the food, the literature. I want to see those things preserved, and to see the people of New Orleans get their homes and their lives back. But Hurricane Katrina wasn't just a failure of politics or engineering. The very levees that protect the city contribute to its sinking, and that makes the problems of New Orleans particularly difficult to solve.

Misleading headlines, particularly ones that imply that the problems are new, don't help the situation.

1 comment:

BrianR said...

I didn't read the paper or the article about the paper, but I agree...that headline doesn't convey the correct message

My guess is they needed to fine something about New Orleans and science to write about on the 2nd anniversary of Katrina....sure, it's a connection, but misleading nonetheless