If you were anything like me last weekend, the threat of hurricane Isabel had you glued to your TV, searching for weather updates from any channel that could provide them.
As was to be expected, most channels served up big helpings of meterologists such as Al Roker, reporting live from the heart of the storm.
So why don’t I ever want to be an embedded weather reporter like our esteemed Mr. Roker? Because, honestly, that kind of reporting makes you looks like an ass.
Don’t get me wrong, I do get a kick out of watching people in their big yellow ponchos attempting to report on the hurricane while insane conditions make it impossible for them to even hang onto the microphone, nevermind report on anything.
The problem is that I’m watching the Weather Channel for – let’s take a wild guess at this one – the weather, people! What’s the point of putting a reporter in those conditions when you can’t even hear him or her through the wind, thunder and rain?
Watching the weather during intense storms is more like tuning in to “Survivor – Newscaster.” Are the news channels afraid no one will tune in if they don’t provide some form of entertainment? I would think that a storm that is supposed to blow the Carolinas off the map would be enough of an incentive for viewers to watch.
I know that this type of close-up reporting brings the viewers at home to the scene of the action. Those watching, however, would get much more out of watching the cameraman pan the storm area and the anchor handling the story from inside a nice, dry newsroom.
I can’t say I’ve never thought about being an embedded weather girl – the reporting is exciting in a dangerous sort of way. But, for instance, reporting from a helicopter inside the eye of the hurricane is dangerous in a stupid sort of way.
I can’t help but think of storm chasing reporters who broadcast somewhere in the middle of Texlahoma while everyone at home is screaming at their TV for them to turn around because the twister just crept up behind them and devoured the news truck and the makeup girl.
I think the point of being a live reporter is to provide viewers with updates on what’s going on – not to give them heart attacks because they made the mistake of turning on the news.
All in all, it is not necessary for me to stand out in a hurricane while 90 mile per hour winds and rain make me eat my hair or risk my life on live television and while the viewers at home are left saying, “That was pretty cool, but I don’t know if the storm is five seconds away from hitting my house.” I’m sure if those watching wanted more entertainment than simply the facts, they’d flip the channel to “Friends.”