Anita Lee – It’s not an ‘oil spill’ it’s an oil gusher

BILOXI, Miss. — Media consumers want to know why news outlets call the gusher in the Gulf an oil spill.

Oil spill fits in a headline or sound bite, but fails to capture what started April 20 in the Gulf and how life is changing as a result.

How do we quantify the damage to animals, humans and the ocean from oil that pulses every second, like a living being, from the Deepwater Horizon’s broken wellhead?
A sociologist who studies disaster, a grammarian, a Coast mayor, a Tulane University energy professor and a BP representative offered their thoughts.

“Catastrophe is a word that springs instantly to mind,” said wordsmith James J. Kilpatrick, a retired journalist who lives in the Washington area and previously authored a popular syndicated column, “The Writer’s Art.”

Read more: