Hurricane Irene provides window into The Weather Channel’s info-tainment

The New York Times | NPR
While you were watching Hurricane Irene on the The Weather Channel, The New York Times’ Brian Stelter was watching The Weather Channel watch Irene. Stelter was with meteorologist  Mike Seidel in Nags Head, N.C., as he was blown around by Hurricane Irene for about 15 hours Saturday. Stelter notes that Seidel positions himself so he bears the force of the most powerful winds. Among the tricks of the trade, according to Stelter: “Mr. Seidel donned safety glasses on the beach to help keep sand out of his eyes, and positioned himself almost as low as a football linebacker to stop from being blown over. The audio engineer wrapped his battery pack in a condom to keep it dry.”

On the other side of the television, NPR’s Linda Holmes describes why she watched 14 hours of The Weather Channel on Saturday. Chief among them is the element of surprise, whether it’s watching a weather reporter wipe out, or observing people in the background of live shots doing exactly what the reporter says it’s unsafe to do. “It’s basically like watching a wildlife expert talk about how you should never taunt an angry bear while somebody in the background runs across the screen being chased by a grizzly and yelling, “You want the sandwich? You want the sandwich? Come and get it, ha ha ha!” (And if you’re lucky, you may catch someone flashing the viewers.)

Related: NBC reporter criticizes people for walking on the beach in New Jersey, but MSNBC then cuts to video of meteorologist Al Roker wading in the Long Island surf || Hype vs. reality: 6 reasons that Irene coverage wasn’t overhyped | The Times’ Nate Silver reaches the same conclusion in his characteristic quantitative way. || Tales from the lonely print reporter: Washington Post reporter Steve Hendrix describes the unglamorous life of a print reporter covering the storm. || Eponymous: The woman who tweets at @Irene describes how her account became the voice of the storm.

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