Major storm means news frenzy

    Big snow storms roll through this region just about every winter… but they still capture the news media and the public’s attention – as if we were amateurs at dealing with the white stuff.

    Weather reporters say a nor’easter is en route to hit the Delaware Valley this weekend.

    (Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grantmac/ / CC BY-NC 2.0)

    Fox 29: It’s pretty big. And it’s pretty juicy.

    Big snow storms roll through this region just about every winter… but they still capture the news media and the public’s attention – as if we were amateurs at dealing with the white stuff.

    Friday morning on Fox in Philadelphia, anchors greeted their audiences with this behind-the-scenes peek into journalism:

    Fox 29: Every morning we have a morning meeting before we come on. And we say, what is the most important story of the day? Today it is… the weather forecast.

    The reason? Saturday is a huge holiday shopping day and it’s the first big snow of the season.

    But snow storms are a regular part of living in the northeastern United States.

    And most of us have successfully driven in snow, showed up for work while it’s snowing, and enjoyed snow days home from school.

    So why do they still dominate the news?

    Ford Risley is the head of the journalism department at Penn State.

    He says storms have the right mix of elements to make great copy.

    Risley:News organizations like the drama, and gosh the weather storm provides that. It’s the unexpected. What is it really going to mean and how is it going to affect people? So there’s the drama and lots of good pictures.

    But, Risley says, it’s the duty of any good news organization to report the weather.

    Risley: I think weather news is important because it affects everyone. You can’t say that about many things.

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