[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Media Hurricane Coverage

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Media Hurricane Coverage

The way the media covers landfalling hurricanes has always amused me. Actually, it's often quite irritating to see reporters standing in 100 + mph winds telling us how bad it is out there. (Memo to media: we already know). I must admit it can make for interesting TV.

The shots they decide to use are so predictable: the swaying palm trees, the stop sign flopping back and forth (it only takes about 20 mph winds to make those signs start to move), a boiling sea, surfers risking their lives, etc.

Today's coverage of Dennis making landfall near Pensacola was fairly uneventful if you were looking for reporters flying through the air, unlike last year when a reporter from the local ABC station broke some ribs during Frances in the Bahamas when a piece of styrofoam siding broke off and flew right into her torso.

Still, there were some amusing moments. Here are the highlights:

- The Weather Channel's Jeff Morrow hanging on to a lamp post to prevent from flying away.

- CNN deciding to have not one, but two reporters in the same location measuring the wind and telling us how bad conditions were. During the height of the storm, they watched in amazement as a tall metal sign from a Ramada Inn came crumbling down. One of the reporters said it was the most incredible thing he'd ever seen (at least until the next hurricane). Of course, they had to get out of the way as the pieces of the sign started to fly in their general direction.

- The highlight for me was the coverage provided by the pride of Hialeah, Florida: Rick Sanchez. He was reporting from "Hurricane One", a Hummer which gives Rick a chance to move from one place to the next in the hope of catching the worst of the storm.

During one dramatic moment, he was standing in the middle of a highway which was about ankle deep in water from the storm surge which was rolling in. Rick explained to viewers what was causing the water to flow across the roadway, then proceeded to taste the water to remind us that it was indeed salt water from the ocean.

You didn't have to do that, Rick. We believed you the first 5 times you told us.

It's going to be a loooooooooong hurricane season.


Anonymous Juan Paxety said...

When it comes to local reporters, don't think for a second that they are doing the things they do to be seen by the viewing audience. No, they are looking for "the shot" to be the first thing on their resume tape that they will send to news directors at their potential next job.

7:07 AM, July 11, 2005  

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