BY JOE BUCK COATES
Monday’s rough storms were accompanied by a plethora of weather men and women trying to warn us about the dynamics and danger of the approaching weather system. Understanding watches vs. warnings, tornado tips, flood tips, lightning tips, viewer photos and videos, live shots from the such-and-such tower cam in the affected town, explaining things like ‘zones of divergence’, ‘dry line’ and ‘mezzo cyclone’ and the like were diligently orchestrated by personalities on every available station. The drama was gripping.
Then, as the line of storms passed by, reporters attempting to quickly juke through the wreckage to be the first on site complained indirectly that authorities weren’t allowing them inside the zones of destruction to film the aftermath of tornadoes in certain areas of our state.
Don’t be fooled. Weather is entertainment, now. They want mostly to film the people affected and splash their shocked faces and run their abrupt, poorly conducted and distasteful interviews on air as quickly as possible.
Our local on-air meteorologists do a fine job of keeping us informed during dangerous weather situations. We feel somewhat safer watching them. Our state government leaders and emergency agencies also perform well handling and communicating such situations. Their press conferences, similar to Gov. Bryant’s on Monday, not only add official emphasis to the warnings, but also help ease the minds of Mississippians and say, “We have this under as much control as possible. You are in good hands, but be smart.”
But, when it comes to TV coverage after the storm, when is enough. . .enough? Are ratings that important that its okay to accost someone at the weakest moment of their life and broadcast their misery all over the world?
Turn the camera and mic off, stay out of the way, let the authorities work and let human beings be human beings.