Daily Archives: January 7, 2010

Flurries of truth

It’s a shame this site no longer abuses local TV.  Otherwise, I’d name the parties  below.

Wednesday, Twitter delivered some material from local TV stations about this afternoon’s upcoming “weather event.”  This tweet came from a local TV guy at 3pm:

“I like to get wx report straight from source. @[weatherguy] told me while i was heating lunch he does not expect us to get much snow in atl”

Two minutes later, Twitter and Facebook sent this out from the reporter’s employer:

“Everyone ready for some snow? Forecast models call for 1-2 inches for parts of Central and North GA, but what do you think will really happen? [Our weather guy] will have the latest…”

They seem contradictory, yet both tweets were accurate.  The reporter was giving accurate information straight from the source.  The TV station was trying to be relevant to viewers.

Giving the people what they want

At a time when folks are turning away from local TV altogether, “weather events” remain a time when viewers are geeked up enough to actually view local TV in real time.  TV stations measure which stories are hits on their web sites; the local weather stories are always at the top.

So TV stations will give you weather.  Blame yourselves, viewers of TV news.  Those of us earning paychecks in the industry would like to thank you.

This afternoon’s snow flurries will give reporters an opportunity to shift away from the cold weather stories they’ve had to produce over the last week.  At WXIA, Jerry Carnes has been our stalwart cold weather go-to.  Yesterday, I did a piece about folks who can’t afford to pay their gas bills and heat their homes.  As usual, my goal was to tell the story without ever uttering the word “cold.”

Meantime, consider this:  Ten years ago this month, Atlanta was socked with a terrible ice storm.  It knocked out power in my neighborhood for nearly a week, longer in many others.  It closed schools (of course, so that children could spend quality time in their unheated homes).  It also killed Atlanta’s chance to ever host another Super Bowl.

I had scheduled my son, Bill, to work as a page in the legislature that week.  He was all about it, because it would take him out of school for a day.  But when school closed, he was less enthused.

“What are we gonna do — sit in the unheated house instead?” I reasoned.  We went to the Capitol instead.  Bill executed his duties in casual clothing.  His family read books in the House gallery and stayed warm.  He got his picture taken with two Georgia legends.

Now, that was a weather event.

PS – Red and Black editorial cartoonist Bill Richards has posted his favorite cartoons from ’09.  They’re worth checking out.  And wish the boy a happy birthday today.

"You don't know where that gavel's been!" Bill with Rep. Doug Teper and Speaker Tom Murphy