Retired senior lecturer in the Department of Meteorology at Penn State, where he was lead faculty for PSU's online certificate in forecasting.
By: 24hourprof , 1:55 PM GMT on May 07, 2014
In the aftermath of the tornado outbreak over the Deep South on April 27-28, 2014, I was bothered by reporters walking onto private property where homes were dramatically damaged (obviously, the owners were not there because the homes were essentially destroyed). To my chagrin, some reporters then picked up personal property and held it up to the camera. I think such behavior by the media is both disrespectful and very presumptuous. What right do they have to go on private property and root through the possessions of the people who lived there?
Before the tornado outbreak, I even heard some forecasters, who, in my view, should be more sensitive to the potential tragic consequences of significant tornado outbreaks, become way too excited at the possibility of large wedge twisters in Arkansas on the 27th. You hear excessive exuberance all the time from some storm chasers. All I'm saying here is that we, as a forecasting community, should always be cognizant of the potential impacts to life and property, and that a more sober approach to forecasting and reporting is warranted.
In a broader context, I'm starting to believe that the media have discovered the "cash cow" associated with weather disasters (and weather, in general). In my opinion, the media seem, at least to me, to hype these events just for the sake of ratings.
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