Mayors in the frontlines of television. The NOS-news and the 'disaster mayors' of Enschede and VolendamThis article investigates how the NOS-news, the Mayor of Enschede, Jan Mans, and the Mayor of Volendam, Frank IJsselmuiden, publicly dealt with, respectively, the fireworks and the New Year's disasters. Lammers bases his findings on news repons of the NOS-news, on the interviews he had with the Mayors of Enschede and Volendam, on the rapports made by the committees investigating the disasters, and on newspaper articles. This is what he found:The Mayor of Enschede remained, from the moment of the incident, very much in control. He became and remained the face in the media that told everyone what was happening and what needed to be done. Others were only permitted to speak after consultation. Because of his media performances and his tenacity he received full support from the local inhabitants and the council, and he was allowed to continue his function as Mayor after the official investigation - even though his board had on occasions been careless in the past. When it came to the disaster in Volendam the NOS jumped right on it and was extremely critical, in contrast to the disaster in Enschede, when it had initially not been alert. Here too the Mayor spoke to the press personally, albeit nervously and insecurely at first. After a few days the Mayor feit that his presence in the media was no longer required, as he had no new information to convey. His departure from the media created the space for new spokespeople, which led to nothing but confusion. The Mayor could no longer control the media and decided, after the official investigation into the disaster, to resign from his function - even though he was not found to blame.

media history, disaster, television, news
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis
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TMG Journal for Media History; Vol 5, No 2 (2002): Rampen. Calamiteiten of mediaconstructies?; 110-134

Lammers, Joost. (2002). Burgemeesters aan het televisiefront. Het NOS-JOURNAAL en de rampburgemeester van Enschede en van Volendam. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 5(2), 110–134. doi:10.18146/tmg.527