Some chatter the last 24 hours on Oregon Media Central (a media insiders gossip and info site) about the lack of a storm last weekend plus how newsrooms interact with the meteorologists. I was interviewed by Mitch Nolan, who hosts the site. Obviously this might be of some interest to you, the weather aficionados. Apparent Mitch plans to talk to other meteorologists in town as well. Now he specifically asked me today if there are ever situations where I am uncomfortable with the hype or felt the newsroom was pushing a storm out of control. I bet some of you wonder the same thing? Here’s the reply I sent to him today:
“Of course there have been times where the news people get a little bit ahead of the weather people on storm coverage. There’s good reason for that…ratings shoot through the roof anytime we have (even minor) windstorms, flooding, snow/ice, or an evening thunderstorm.
But I’ve been here at KPTV for 7 years and have to say the communication between newsies and the weather people works very well. If we say that we need to pull back, they will. It’s a pretty respectful and healthy two-way relationship. They are even kind enough to ask if the cold opens and weather scripts look okay…how about that? There is some give and take of course, but really, that’s part of the fun of this business and weather forecasting. I couldn’t ask for anything more here…they respect us and we help them out looking for promotable weather events on the way.
It was not that way at KOIN in the 1990s when I was there. Of course that was different management and people than now, but back then it was like this: If it looked like a storm was on the way for the 9am news meeting, then IT WAS COMING, regardless of what the afternoon meteorologist would say. We would really have to beat them back or at least contradict on-air which looks really stupid”.
So what about the weather itself last Friday night and Saturday? What a mess! All the TV people and the NWS missed the forecast (including me of course). I think it was always an iffy situation precip-wise, so unlike last year’s obvious big snowstorm that we saw coming several days ahead of time. I think the NWS issuing the Winter Storm Warning was probably the nail in the coffin this time around though. It was real nice (as referenced above) that between the 8pm and 10pm show we were able to change the forecast and the newspeople here were happy to back off on wording of the storm. Anyone watching our 10/11pm shows that day had the impression that whatever was going to happen, it wasn’t going to be a big deal.
BLOG STATS: Friday, the 11th was our biggest day so far on this blog…39,617 visits!
Of course this site is extremely weather sensitive with respect to those visits…check out these numbers as the weather ramped up and then slowed down starting last Wednesday (already pretty high due to arctic air in place).
24700-Wed, 25700-Thu, 39600-Fri, 25100-Sat, 13500-Sun, 8300-Mon, 7800-Tue
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen