Saturday, May 28, 2005

Weather Reporting as Beat Journalism

Source: The Poynter Institute Scott Libin writes: When the May rating period coincides with peak season for severe weather it produces a near-perfect storm: Conditions are ideal for both the best and worst of local television news around the country.

It's an ideal time to start taking television weather reporting more seriously: not just as gimmickry, gadgetry, hype and science -- though at times it is all of those. It's time to start treating it as journalism.

No other story affects every viewer every day. No other interest drives viewers to local TV more consistently. Yet nobody seems to think of weather as journalism. News, yes -- especially under extreme circumstances such as hurricanes, tornados and blizzards. But journalism, no.

Maybe that's partly because, over the last few decades, weathercasters have gone all the way from clown college to masters of science, many without stopping along the way to learn journalism. And, with a few exceptions, nobody ever invited them to learn it.

I say that invitation's long overdue. MORE

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