We in the newspaper business get accused from time to time of focusing too much on the negative aspects of the news. But there is a group that I think we could all agree focuses predominantly on the negative aspects of their job. Who is this group of people, you ask? Television weather people concentrate a great deal of their time and energy on the bad weather that may or may not be coming our way.
Take the most recent weather forecast that I watched this morning, Wednesday, for instance. It is sunny and beautiful for the next three days but the weather person focused the majority of her time talking about the 70 percent chance of showers for Saturday. Very little was said about the warm temperatures and gorgeous skies expected for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday but instead, she talked about how Saturday could have severe thunderstorms and a possible tornado or two.
I get it, we all need to know if there is going to be bad weather headed our way. But does the chance of bad weather on one day need to dominate the entire forecast?
I wonder how television weather folks would respond if they were asked the same questions we in the newspaper business are asked about the perception that we are too negative. Would weather people ever be held to the same standards as us newspaper folks?
For example, "The negative stuff you put out hurts tourism in our community." I think we could all agree that a forecast of bad storms and rainy weather would most definitely have an impact on people traveling to our fair city. I mean as I'm writing this the Arkansas Derby is this weekend and all the weather geeks can talk about is how bad the storms will be and how soggy it is going to be on Saturday. Certainly, this is not helping tourism for this weekend.
Another question we in the newspaper business are asked often is, "Why can't you focus on all the positive things going on, no one wants to see the negative stuff." Again would the weather gurus be confronted with the same query? I mean leading up to winter all they talk about is how bad the winter is going to be with El Nino this and Polar Vortex that. Seems pretty negative to me.
A final example of a comment we hear sometimes is, "Life is so beautiful, put the positive stuff out there. It makes the world a better place." Have you heard the weather clan discuss the effects of global warming? To hear them talk it is a worldwide catastrophe. This will bring about the melting of the polar ice caps which will bring about global flooding. This, of course, will be in addition to the constantly rising temperatures which will change our ecosystem forever and could cause a worldwide famine. I'm not sure but does that type of conversation focus on the beauty in life or am I just seeing it wrong?
I guess I shouldn't try to compare weather forecasters to newspaper reporters. I mean weather folks have the luxury of being wrong and reporters don't get that luxury. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a 10-day -- or longer -- forecast is only right about half the time. In the realm of local journalism, we don't have that type of leeway. If we are wrong it affects people's lives in a very profound way. Not to mention we would be sued for slander and be driven out of business.
Everybody loves the TV weatherman. He or she is asked to lead parades and speak at events. They are greeted like friends in most public settings. Sounds like a great gig if you can get it. Especially for somebody that is wrong half the time.
Do an old newspaper man a favor, next time you're watching the weather on television see if you think they are being too negative. Are their friendly smiles and humorous banter a cover-up for a nefarious plan to bring down our happy society and force us all to be miserable? Do they only care about depressing us and beating us down to the point that we become susceptible to their desire to instill their philosophy and agenda of greed and power?
I think we sometimes need to look at things from a different angle to get a proper perspective. The weather folks are just doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. They are providing us with information we all need and that in various degrees makes our lives better. We need to hear about the storms and prepare accordingly. If we don't know the storms are coming, we could be caught in it and hurt. No one wants that.
"There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm." -- Willa Cather.Editorial on 04/14/2019
Print Headline: Wicked weather people