Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Snow News Is Good News

Our meteorologists/forecasters in MARKET 117 are pretty good about not overblowing things, but I thought some of you might find this funny.

It's a satire from Paul Farhi of the Washington Post.

To: All ActionEyewitnessTVNews Personnel
From: News director
Subj: Snow coverage.

Folks: Just wanted to offer a few reminders about how our TV station covers
snowfall in the Washington area:

1. We mobilize "full team coverage" whenever snow is predicted, is falling
or has fallen. We also do it if snow might fall. Or if it happens to be
January, February or March.

2. Backdrop graphics: Before it snows, the sign on screen should read, "Snow
on the Way?" If we get 1 to 2 inches, it's "Snow Emergency!" Three to 7
inches: "Killer Storm!" Anything more, we run with "Avalanches, Cannibalism

3. Anchors: Use dramatic verbs, even for minimal snow totals. Bad: "The
region received a dusting today." Better: "Snow
paralyzed/pummeled/blasted/buried the Washington area today." Better still:

4. Reporting locales: The overpass. The city salt hut. The big-box hardware
store. The supermarket (remember: Any market in which three shoppers are
buying milk, bread or toilet paper simultaneously constitutes "panic

5. Interview subjects: Anyone out walking or driving in snow. (Required
question: "You're walking/driving . . . in THIS weather?") Cute kids home
from school. The first guy to buy a shovel at Home Depot.

6. Best winter-weather footage, in terms of ratings: a) Car/bus failing to
climb icy hill; b) More impressive snowfall somewhere else; c) Two cars
skidding into each other (will accept video of this occurring ANYWHERE in

7. Advice to weather forecasters: "Snow" is a terribly overused word.
Instead, use weathery sounding words such as "precip" or "wintry mix." When
in doubt, fall back on "the white stuff."

8. As soon as the snow stops, go with new graphic: "Winter Wonderland!"

And never admit we got the forecast wrong. Bundle up!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A month ago or so, I saw WJLA use computer animated graphics of falling snow in a frame around the news show.