Articles about "Weather coverage"

SiriusXM fires Anthony Cumia, HuffPost loses top U.K. editor

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories, plucked with no small effort from the post-holiday-weekend ether. From Kristen Hare, a world media news roundup. From Sam Kirkland, digital stories to ease you back into working life.

  1. HuffPost UK editor leaves for fashion-trend-forecasting firm: Carla Buzasi will join the firm WGSN. She “famously tracked down HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington to pitch a UK version of the news site following AOL’s $315m (£184m) acquisition in 2011,” Mark Sweney reports. (The Guardian)
  2. SiriusXM fires Anthony Cumia: Satellite broadcaster let the “Opie and Anthony” host go “after careful consideration of his racially charged and hate-filled remarks.” (NYT) | Cumia’s Twitter rant (Gawker) | Cumia “Has a Long History of Public Awfulness” (Gawker) | Fans launch “#CancelSiriusXM” campaign, change Twitter avatars to an picture of Che Guevara “with Cumia’s face superimposed on it.” (THR)
  3. Why a N.Y. paper used a racial slur to describe the president: “The New York Times avoids using the word which convinced me that WestView should,” WestView News Editor and Publisher George Capsis tells Kevin Fasick and Laura Italiano (New York Post) | “Just because the n-word is being used ironically does not make it okay.” (Jezebel)
  4. The next World Cup won’t have U.S. ratings as good as this one: It will be in Russia, and “most of the games will be played between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on the east coast, arguably the worst time of day.” (Capital)
  5. Arthur forecasting was mostly calm: Erik Wemple found “genuine broadcast storm froth” from CNN and mostly measured reports elsewhere. (The Washington Post) | Don’t get hosed by fake hurricane photos this year (Poynter)
  6. Brian Stelter promises to eat electronics, newspaper: How surprised would the CNN host be surprised if Rupert Murdoch bought CNN’s parent company? “I will eat my remote control — in fact, I will eat my copy of the New York Post — if Murdoch becomes the owner of CNN.” (Mediaite) | Here’s the segment. (CNN)
  7. Mónica Guzmán explains her write-everything-by-hand experiment: “When it’s so easy to write so much, it can get even harder to write what you want.” (The Seattle Times)
  8. HuffPost corrects post about David Simon: Simon was not fired by The Baltimore Sun. (FishbowlNY) | Jeremy Barr‘s story about Simon accusing HuffPost of libel (Capital) | ” As if carrying a lie about another citizen to a mass of people isn’t still the tort of libel and a thoroughly scumsucking thing with which to be engaged.” (The Audacity of Despair)
  9. Tour de France riders really, really wish spectators would stop taking selfies as they pass: Some fans “were standing in the road with their backs to the peloton trying to take selfies of themselves with their heroes.” (The Telegraph)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Evan Campisi, the design director of Nylon Magazine, will take over as the design director of Elle. He’ll replace Paul Ritter, who left for Glamour. ( | Gregory Myers, 35, is the editor of the Newton County Enterprise in Indiana. Myers, who has 13 years of experience, has been the editor of the County Journal newspaper in southern Illinois for eight years. (Newton County Enterprise) | Jan Griffey is now the new associate publisher and editor of The Natchez Democrat. Griffey was an intern at the Democrat in 1981 before working at The Ironton, where she rose to become managing editor. (The Natchez Democrat) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more

President Barack Obama removes his jacket before he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2013. The president is proposing sweeping steps to limit heat-trapping pollution from coal-fired power plants and to boost renewable energy production on federal property, resorting to his executive powers to tackle climate change and sidestepping the partisan gridlock in Congress. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Obama reaches out to forecasters on climate report

The New York Times | Politico

President Obama visited with weather forecasters Tuesday to discuss the National Climate Assessment, Justin Gillis reports in The New York Times. His administration “hopes to use the report to shore up public support for the president’s climate policies as he attempts to put new regulations in place to limit emissions.”


The administration’s decision to use meteorologists “absolutely is a great move,” American Meteorological Society Executive Director Keith Seitter told Politico reporter Darren Goode. “The meteorologists that are on TV are the ones in your living room every night, and people tend to trust them because they are getting good, reliable information on the weather every day.”

Meteorologists are, as a group, not always on the same page as climate scientists: A draft report the AMS published last year found that only 52 percent of its members believed that global warming is real and caused by humans. That study found that the political ideology of those surveyed was the second-most-important factor in their answers after “perceived scientific consensus.” Read more

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WGAL photo

How WGAL TV kept the newsroom running when the roof collapsed

WGAL-TV (Lancaster, Pa.) News Director Dan O’Donnell was on the other side of the building from the newsroom at 3:20 Friday afternoon when he said he heard “what sounded like a truck backing into the building. Others said it sounded like thunder. Then ceiling tiles came down. The newsroom roof was collapsing.”

Engineers discovered a concrete support beam and slab had shifted and dropped. Luckily, no one was injured.

Snow packed WGAL-TV’s rooftop. A beam shifted forcing the station to evacuate. (Photo from WGAL used with permission)
Lancaster has been buried in snow for the last couple of weeks. “It was snow related,” O’Donnell said, “We covered three or four roof collapses before we had our problems. We had a foot of snow this week, 8 inches fell the week before. So there was a lot of snow up there.”

The WGAL team moved out of the newsroom to a downstairs studio. But when police and fire officials arrived, they ordered everyone out of the building. Everyone.

WGAL staffers stand in the parking lot of their own station to begin work covering the story about themselves. (Photo from WGAL used with permission)

“We went out on the front lawn and set up a newsroom there,” O’Donnell told me. “But with nobody in the station, we could not get a live signal on the air. There was nobody to receive the signal and punch it up on the air.” So the station had to find another way to report not only on itself, but on the storm that had blanketed the community.

“There is no doubt  that we, the television station, were the lead story in our market. But the newsroom knew that we have got to report on more than ourselves. We are a news organization and there is a storm coming through.”

O’Donnell was standing on the snow-covered station lawn when he said something out loud about needing to move the newsroom somewhere else quickly. An assistant fire chief heard him and suggested the station try the nearby city government building.

WGAL plans news coverage from its temporary newsroom inside a city municipal building. (Photo from WGAL used with permission)

Within an hour, newscast producers moved tables in the government office building to construct a make-shift newsroom. But there was still a big problem. No matter what, there still was no way to broadcast the news. “We used our website and Facebook to report,” O’Donnell said.

Once the newsroom was running, the WGAL team started producing streaming content for their website. But it took a lot of innovation. Reporters wanted to file stories, but there was no way to play the stories on the web stream. So they held up their iPads with whatever video they had captured and narrated and showed it on the tablet screen. A photojournalist focused on a screen while a meteorologist narrated information from the radar track.

WGAL news team hustles to set up a temporary newsroom in a city building, then starts live streaming coverage of a winter storm that hit the area. (Photo from WGAL used with permission)

Then there was the issue of the Olympics. WGAL is an NBC station and without an operation control room, the station had to scramble to find a way to get the network signal on air. Working with WBAL in Baltimore and WCAU in Philadelphia, the station was able to snag the NBC signal and keep the Olympics on the air.

The station also had the help of it’s parent company, Hearst.

Hearst Vice President for News, Candy Altman, told me, “After Hurricane Katrina, we as a company adjusted our broadcast interruption plans and in the WGAL situation, our corporate engineering team led by Marty Faubell jumped in to try and get them up and running as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, our digital content editor Ernie Mourelo got their livestream up on an alternate platform  via yo space so they were livestreaming news by 6pm and their website was being updated by their own web editor and our digital hub. Many stations were either getting ready or were immediately on the way. Our sales and traffic teams worked to adjust logs and our senior management team led by Mike Hayes, legal and programming teams worked with the cable operators.”

Hearst Vice President for News, Barb Maushard added, “The corporate team coordinated  help as we do for any station in an emergency.  We jumped on conference calls to figure out how to best address the unique challenges of the situation.  And then we started calling in stations like WBAL who sent engineers and equipment immediately.  WTAE who took in a satellite signal and routed  it for live streaming so the news could go on. We had five other stations preparing to send people with equipment to help support a remote location and several others volunteering to help.   There is never a shortage of people willing to help and quick to respond to the call.

O’Donnell says he’s already learned a lot of lessons. “What we did was employ our breaking news plan. I have never practiced the what-if-the-roof-collapses drill. The first thing that happened is there is a sense of disbelief that news is happening to you. For a few moments, it was hard to get people going. There was a moment of ‘we really are abandoning ship, we gotta go. We gotta go now.”‘

Cranes arrive Saturday to help inspectors survey damage at WGAL TV in Lancaster, Pa. (Photo permission WGAL)

Saturday morning, a crane arrived. Crews surveyed the wreckage, went inside and installed a steel beam to reinforce the damaged area. Barely 24 hours after the station was ordered evacuated, it was back on the air Saturday evening after inspectors said WGAL staffers could go back inside.

Inspectors allow the news staff to return to its newsroom in time for a 6 p.m. Saturday newscast. (Photo from WGAL used with permission)

The WGAL experience is a strong reminder to journalists of all media to have a plan for what you would do if you had to leave your office right away.

  • How would you continue reporting to your community? In the end that was Dan O’Donnell’s biggest concern. He said he felt WGAL had a duty to continue reporting on the winter weather and not get bogged down covering itself.
  • What will “corporate” folks need to know and how does your relationship with other stations in your group work when you need support for news and engineering?
  • The sales department will be affected by lost ads. Is there new ad opportunity online with increased content being generated for the online site in the short term?
  • Could you build a partnership with a radio stationto carry your online newscasts? 
  • Where could you go to set up an office that has Internet connections and enough space to work?
  • If you had to evacuate your newsroom in the next hour, what kinds of gear would you take with you? What will you leave behind and how would you quickly protect what you leave from damage?
  • What computer backups do you need to have in place if your on-site servers were damaged by something like a roof collapse, fire or flood? Can you access your online servers from off-site?
  • Do you know how to contact your cable carriers quickly?  Could you use the cable company’s facilities?
  • Is your office inventory up to date if you had to make an insurance claim? Where is that inventory list kept? Do you have serial numbers and the photos you would need to make claims?.
  • What does your company’s business interruption insurance cover? Would it help pay for a relocation?
  • Do you have a “go-pack” ready that includes emergency contact information for staff, enough cash to keep things running?
  • Have you considered any kinds of agreements with competitors, contractors or freelancers that could kick in during an emergency? What facilities might a university have that would house a newspaper, TV or radio staff, for example? Who else in your community might have a fully functional studio or a working environment similar to a newspaper office?
  • Could you contact your main equipment and software providers to help replace anything you lost in a disaster? Could those vendors and suppliers help you with loaned or rented gear during your emergency relocation?
  • Have you practiced a “bug out” to see if you could actually pull it off? A couple of years ago when a tropical storm passed through St. Pete, we “bugged out” of Poynter more or less to practice our response in moving a seminar off-site quickly. I learned a lot and have no doubt I could do it quickly if needed now. I highly recommend routine practice runs and hope you will never have to use the knowledge for real.

Al Tompkins helps lead Poynter’s Producer Project, March 21-April 29. Learn to expand your expertise as a TV producer with new writing, storytelling, coaching and ethical decision-making skills taught online and in person. Read more

APTOPIX Winter Weather Atlanta

Journalists share pictures of an empty Atlanta

On Jan. 29, Zoë Schlanger wrote about the storm that hit Atlanta for Newsweek and how the city looked like something from “The Walking Dead.”

Images from that piece were full of abandoned cars.

And on Jan. 30, Ian Bogost wrote a story for The Atlantic about how shows like “The Walking Dead” prepare people for catastrophic events.

But maybe it was what happened in late January that really helped prepare people in Atlanta for the ice that’s settled in and the ice that’s on its way now. Here’s how Atlanta looked Wednesday from the viewpoint of several journalists.

A lonely car makes its way through Atlanta on Wednesday. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

Read more


Weather Channel wants your photos of snow-covered patio furniture

The Weather Channel

If you’re worried that your photos of snow-covered patio furniture will no longer be televised after KUSA-TV anchor Kyle Clark pleaded with viewers to stop sending them in, The Weather Channel has a message for you.

“We don’t feel that way here at The Weather Channel,” host Matt Sampson says. “We love your patio furniture. It’s a convenient photo op for you, and gives us a great idea of weather conditions in your area.”

He then proceeds to sing. “Furniture on the patio / Covered in ice / Covered in snow / Furniture on the patio / There’s no place I’d rather go / Everyone here at The Weather Channel / Feels the same way.”

Is there a slideshow of snow-covered patio furniture photos? Of course there’s a slideshow of snow-covered patio furniture photos. Read more

A winter storm approaching the East Coast has been blamed for over a dozen lives since moving across the country from California. (National Weather Service)

Time to prepare as storm approaches the east

The New York Times |

As a winter storm cuts its way through the South and lumbers closer to the East Coast this week, it’s a wise newsroom that’s planning not just for a severe weather story but also for an emergency that could stop its presses or take down its website.

As of Monday night, forecasters expected the storm to bring rain, ice and snow to the South, with two to four inches of rain predicted for eastern cities beginning Wednesday. Airports from Boston to Washington, D.C., may be hardest hit, but the storm could also complicate holiday driving, the National Weather Service said.

Travelers in the East may see the effects of the storm as early as today, according to the Times. The timing, as they say, could not have been worse:

The inclement weather comes as millions of people take to the air and roads for the Thanksgiving holiday. More than 40 million people are expected to drive or fly at least 50 miles for Thanksgiving, with Wednesday expected to be the single busiest day, according to the AAA, the automobile association.

So what’s a newsroom to do? Complete all of the preparations that you would make for yourself and your family: have the staff fill up their gas tanks, set side some extra cash, and think through contingencies.

Emergency supplies should be taken out of storage and checked to ensure they are in working order. Batteries for flashlights and lanterns, windup cell-phone chargers, car chargers, adapters for laptops, extra water and food and rain jackets should all be ready to go. Keep journalists who will be out in the field stocked with equipment and supplies and test their backup communication systems.

Among the resources to consult for both stories and preparations:

Federal Emergency Management Administration’s website offers advice on preparing for winter storms and severe weather.

The American Red Cross provides winter-storm preparation advice, emergency-kit lists, and tips for keeping safe during a storm and protecting pets.

The California Energy Commission has tips for businesses in the event of a power outage, while Portland General Pacific offers a brochure for businesses that provides a quick checklist, even if you aren’t in their coverage area.

While this week’s storm is no Hurricane Sandy, the superstorm that devastated parts of the Eastern seaboard in October 2012 provided useful and replicable examples of storm coverage that went beyond the ordinary.

Significantly, several media outlets dropped their paywalls during Hurricane Sandy allowing readers to access important coverage of the massive storm. And they did it again in February when a severe winter storm pummeled the Northeast.

Sandy also produced fake photos and efforts to debunk misinformation, and that’s something to keep in mind for the coming storm coverage. Read more


Gary England on covering Oklahoma tornadoes for 42 years: ‘I don’t have to tell them it is scary’

In 42 years of Oklahoma City weathercasting, KWTV’s Gary England estimates he has tracked more than 1,000 tornadoes, and without a doubt, that estimate is “on the low end.” When he started his TV career in 1972, he wrote on his weather map with chalk.  Nine years later, KWTV says “England became the first person in history to use Doppler radar for direct warnings to the public.”  He even appeared in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Twister.” In November he will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

England: “There will be time to look at video of destruction later.”

In those years he had developed a mantra that he says he pushes his team of seven meteorologists to follow on days like Monday, when a mile-wide tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore. “When the storm is moving, I keep asking myself, ‘where is it, what is it, where is it going, what time will it be there, what will it do when it gets there?’ Our main concern during a storm is to be thinking of the people in front of the storm,” England told me. “There will be time to look at video of destruction later, but our first priority is helping the people who are about to get hit.”

Oklahoma City weathercasters like England and his competitors have earned the respect and accolades of viewers and this week, even the Oklahoma governor.  England says when he is on the air he tries not to use “scary adjectives.” The viewer can look out their windows and see there is a big storm out there. “I don’t have to tell them it is scary,” he said.

Monday afternoon, England and his team of seven meteorologists were tracking five storms on computers at the same time.  “We knew days ago that we were heading for two days of tornadoes. But when you see the live images on the radar and the video we had from our helicopter, you knew somebody was going to die. It is a horrible feeling.”  The timing of Monday’s storm was especially hazardous. “School was still in session, so people see the images on TV and make a run for the school to get the children out and you know they will get caught in the storm.”

Oklahoma City TV stations have the unusual tradition of handing control of what goes on the air to the chief meteorologist when storms are on the ground. You can see what that looks like in this 2009 tornado outbreak when England and his team tracked multiple giant storms as they skipped across the Oklahoma countryside.

Ten years ago this month, England had to take the unusual step of evacuating the studio when a tornado headed straight for the station. Here is video of that day:

Oklahoma City TV stations spend a lot of energy “training” viewers how to react to storm warnings. “We have held community events that attracted thousands of people to train them,” England said. In his four decades of tracking storms, England now thinks of his viewers in terms of “generations.”

Even in Oklahoma, a state that logs 50 tornadoes a year, viewers often complain when TV stations interrupt programming with weather alerts. “After an event like we had this week, the complaints will die down for a while,” England says. “But in about a year, they will start calling when we interrupt their TV programs.” 42 years of experience has taught him that too.

Related: Oklahoma governor thanks media for tornado coverage Read more


The story behind that Reuters storm photo featured on four major front pages

Brian Snyder had no idea his storm photo appeared on the front pages of four major newspapers this weekend until people started sending him links about it, he said by phone Sunday afternoon.

These four papers (and a few more) featured Snyder’s photo on Saturday’s front page.

A senior photographer for Thomson Reuters, Snyder has covered five presidential campaigns, the Super Bowl, and most recently a snowball fight between students at Harvard and MIT. Read more

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Same photo appears on front pages of NYT, WSJ, WashPost, NY Post

It’s not unusual for a single image to dominate a news event. But it is unusual for the same photo to be prominently featured on four major newspapers. Reuters photojournalist Brian Snyder captured the front page image (shown below) in Boston on Friday, as the storm was arriving. Only the New York Post uses the name ‘Nemo’ to refer to the blizzard that has dumped several feet of snow in the northeast and left thousands without power. || Update: The story behind Brian Snyder’s photo || Related: New York Times, Wall Street Journal drop paywalls for storm coverage | How Wall Street Journal, NPR are using RebelMouse for storm coverage, Fashion Week Read more

APTOPIX Northeast Snow

New York Times, Wall Street Journal drop paywalls for storm coverage

The New York Times will drop its paywall tonight to provide unlimited, free access as readers seek information about the massive winter storm hitting New York and the northeast.

“We’re planning to drop the meter at 6 tonight & re-evaluate the situation tomorrow evening,” said Vice President of Corporate Communications Eileen Murphy by email.

The Wall Street Journal is dropping its paywall as well, it says in an email:

Due to anticipated delivery disruptions because of the winter storm, The Wall Street Journal will be dropping its paywall beginning tonight at midnight through the weekend.

The Times plans to reinstate its paywall at 6 p.m. Saturday, Murphy said by email.

The WSJ and Times dropped their paywalls during Hurricane Sandy too. The Times remained free for five days due to the storm. Read more