“One Crisis Away: Rebuilding A Life”

March 01, 2016 

After a dozen tornadoes ripped through North Texas on the day after Christmas 2015, the scenes were all too familiar: Houses leveled, apartments ripped apart, loved ones mourning the deaths of 13 people. The media reaction was familiar, too: Wall-to-wall coverage for a week or so, then onto the next news story.

KERA was determined to do something different.

The public media station had already built an award-winning, multi-year project called “One Crisis Away,” about life on the financial edge. Reporter Courtney Collins turned her attention to how vicious storms can knock folks off that edge – and transform the lives of those who survive. She and our “One Crisis Away” team spent the year following four families through the hurry-up-and-wait, stop-and-start process of “Rebuilding A Life.”

They produced two in-depth series, in March and then again through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, following the journeys of those four families. There were eight radio stories, an episode of KERA’s talk show “Think,” an extended segment on the statewide public radio newsmagazine “Texas Standard” and a dozen digital pieces, including an innovative interactive to help listeners and readers create their own tornado-prep kits.

Listeners across Texas and nonprofits in North Texas hailed the station’s commitment to following this story long term and in depth. And it’s not over yet: Three of the four families are still not back in their homes, 14 months after the storms. So KERA will keep following them.

LINK to content online

Submitted by Krystina Martinez.

Headliners Foundation