The Louisiana floods have had me worried about friends in Louisiana since the story broke over the weekend, and like others I have been frustrated at the dearth of coverage. Skye Cooley’s article at Huffington Post makes some interesting and valid points. But I have a more structural explanation for why the news media aren’t showing us more of this flooding.

It goes back to 2012-2015, when Advance gutted most of the veteran reporters and photojournalists from the reporting staffs of the then-dominant news outlets closest to where the Louisiana flooding disaster continues to unfold today: the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Press-Register in Mobile, and distant though it may be, the Birmingham News.

These newspapers were the heart of a 24/7/365 information-gathering-and-disseminating ecosystem that fed news through the national food chain.

I remember the video that one of the Times-Picayune photojournalists shot of Hurricane Katrina survivors stranded with little food and water and deteriorating shelter downtown. “Help us, please!” the woman in the photo on the front page shouted, leading a chant of “help us, please!” That became the lead headline, in what must have been 180-point type, on the front page.

A dominant regional news outlet shouts like that, and the message carries far enough for the other regional media to pick it up (like the Houston Chronicle and Dallas Morning News and Atlanta Journal Constitution back in the day), and Montgomery and Birmingham and Huntsville, all of which have senators and congresspeople who pay attention to the news back home every day and talk with each other about what they can do to help their neighboring states.

The pleas for help don’t carry very far very fast now because regional news media, like the birds in Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” went quiet. Regardless of whether the story “fits the narrative,” there are fewer voices to lift up the cry for help.

And in a news media universe that is increasingly consolidated and profit-driven, crews must travel longer distances to cover disasters unless they occur in the major media centers of New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Atlanta, where news crews are standing by.

In the old model, cable TV news would have ripped and read from the newspapers at the epicenter of the disaster until they could get their own operations in place. Now the chain of information that leads them to decide to send crews is disrupted.

I don’t mean to say what I’ve written here and the HuffPost article are the only explanations for the lack of coverage. Nor am I saying all news outlets fell down on the job. The Advocate in Baton Rouge is performing admirably and has done so since the story broke. What other explanations can you think of, and who else is doing good work covering the flooding and the start of recovery?