Tuesday, January 08, 2008

if it's news....

Here in southeastern Wisconsin we were hammered by some severe weather yesterday. Tornadoes and thunderstorms raced through the area causing considerable damage, but thankfully no fatalities. News coverage of the event was extensive and seemingly endless. Catastrophic events like that are certainly newsworthy, but my gripe is with how newsworthy they are.

For some reason the local TV stations, without exception, seem to think that the more they report about something the more important and interesting it becomes. That is particularly true about weather events, whether tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, high winds, snowstorms, or any natural event that either causes damage or has the potential to do so. What they don’t seem to realize is that once the occurrence has been reported there is no need to continue to report it ad nauseum.

Ok, we get it. A tornado touched down and blew away some buildings and left some people a mess to clean up. It doesn’t take a dozen reporters and camera crews all talking about and showing pictures of the same thing for four hours to get the message across. After we have oohed and aahed about the damage and felt the initial wave of sympathy for any victims, the story is old news and should be left alone until something new can be added. In the meantime, what else has happened in the world that we should know about?

And what genius figured out that we, the viewers, are not convinced that it is raining or snowing or blowing unless we see some intrepid reporter in the middle of field being assaulted by the rain and snow and wind? We can look out our window and see the rain falling down and the snowdrifts piling up. Why can’t they? Did it ever occur to TV stations that they might enhance their intelligence quotient if they showed that they had the good sense to get inside out of the weather? I don’t need to see Rhonda Reporter or Charlie Correspondent standing out in the severe weather to trust their veracity. Bring them in and let them dry out. And use their reporting talents to bring us the actual news.

Local TV stations are lamenting the fact that their audience for news is dwindling more and more each time the ratings come out. Maybe if they actually served the public interest by serving up the real news of the day, their audience would grow. Is it any wonder that people are looking to cable news organizations and the internet for the information they crave? I have become part of the viewing public that is more inclined to turn off the TV at news time. Reporting the real news might win me back.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Hey there I found your site through BlogMad and I just had to comment on this one! I live in Oklahoma where the weather seems to be a sport to the newscaster. We are constantly bombarded by reporters out in the elements while they interrupt our normal shows to tell us about the tornado that hit earlier and is now gone...over and over again. Nice to know it's not only in the south!