I think Fry is off base with his assertion that the press in the Red River Valley area let their public down by not covering the "...long history of inappropriate building along the river and extensive river control. I am from there and lived through many floods. When I was seven years old the city of Fargo built 8' high dikes through the city. It was expensive and controversial and received in-depth press attention. Farming practices that affect flooding also get regular tv coverage, as topsoil runoff is a big issue up there.
These are topics that are routinely covered when the press there is not in crisis mode, as they were in 97. Fargo has two universities (NDSU and MSU-M) and a college (Concordia,) Grand Forks has a big university (UND,) and all have departments that study flood control. Their researchers appear regularly on news programs discussing this chronic problem. Every year as spring approaches and anxiety levels start to rise along with the water, these issues get covered, though they've never been solved.