An alternative way to cover Europe’s refugee crisis

As the U.S. news organizations focus on a presidential campaign that’s more than a year from concluding, a refugee crisis is big news in Europe this summer. The latest news involves the deaths of 71 people in the back of a truck in Austria and as many as 200 people killed off the coast of Libya.

Here’s how The Associated Press wire story on those incidents was presented on page 15A of The News & Observer today:


The digital version adds a photo gallery and video. Neither version has a map.

This story is about geography. The AP story mentions Austria, Libya, Italy, Greece, Syria and other countries as well as the Mediterranean Sea. So let’s create a large map that shows what locations refugees are leaving and where they are trying to go.

This story is also about people and politics. Let’s address that in an FAQ format and discuss what’s behind the crisis. Why are people risking their lives to leave their home countries? Are they “migrants” or “refugees“? What are governments doing to address the situation? How can we can help? What’s next?

That approach to this news would make it harder for readers to turn the page or click to the next website, and it would make the story more memorable.