Communication Matters - our blog on trends and events


Covering the weather one snow drift at a time

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

Or rain.

Or blow.

The weather always makes news.

Right now, as I write this post, it is snowing like crazy in Cleveland. And in Minneapolis. And across the country. Great for kids; bad for commuters. And HUGE news.

“Arctic blast blamed for deaths”—CNN.

“Rollovers, icy roads snarl commute”—Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Latest traffic and weather conditions”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
Most newspaper reporters used to grouse whenever they were assigned a weather story. “Big news,” they’d say. “The sun came up today.”

One of the best I’ve seen at covering the weather was Jim Carney, an Akron Beacon Journal reporter and former colleague. If a kid stuck his tongue to a frozen flag pole during a storm, Jim could find it, interview the poor kid, arrange for a photo and get the story in time for the next day’s paper.

If a thunderstorm destroyed a neighborhood’s trees, Jim could find the kind resident who, armed with a chainsaw, worked overtime to clear the brush from the road.

Now, the media do so much more than cover the weather, of course. They let you, the readers, cover it as well. Have an interesting photo? Post it on your newspapers’ Web site and let your neighbors marvel at your photography. Or better yet, post it, then send out an email blast alerting all your contacts that the media have published your work.

Other media solicit tweets, video, commentary. All in the name of telling the world about the millions of personal stories created as we cope with dramatic weather.

Yes, the sun will likely come up tomorrow. But the media—and their readers—will keep reporting on the weather. After all, no snowflake is exactly the same. And no person’s story of braving the arctic blast, snarled roads, icy conditions or massive drifts is exactly the same, either.

If you see any particularly interesting photos or media coverage from the nation’s latest snowstorm, pass them along. Why should the media have all the fun?

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