UPDATE: 9/4/19 - reporters and hosts are trying to still make it seem like the hurricane is worse than it is. Tell me, would you evacuate from a Cat 2? A Cat 5, sure, and even a four, but not a 2. So, they are screaming about storm surge and beach erosion...hmmm...erosion that happens daily with waves, and during high tide. Of course, there will be rain and floods. It is a hurricane. Making the storm in the U.S. worse than it was is not the best plane. Just because they invested so many resources and reputations on it does not mean they should double down on it.
- media went over-the-top once again on the coverage of the current weather event. They started the coverage way too early and then would not let up even when the storm was downgraded. Perhaps, it was a collective ego matter for the TV news. They need to justify their coverage, so they always say "if," "could" and "may" ...when in reality, it was not going to hit land in Florida and skirted the coast. It is actually a disservice to the viewers to constantly talk about what may happen.
* What I did was go to the source and area for info. The airports were opening earlier than originally planned, and Disney World went back to normal operations. Florida residents were still swimming, surfing and walking the beach, while reporters were spouting doom and gloom in front of them. It looked silly. Reporters talking about waves on a beach, during high tide.
* Now, the Bahamas got whacked, and that is bad. A brutal Cat 5 storm at the time. Yes, they need the help and they will get it.
* Having worked in it so long, I never really saw some things that I plainly see now. But, I tried to be careful of the headlines and the hype. In entertainment and sports, that is where the real fun in headline writing is, but news, it can backfire. It needs a bit more scrutiny.
- When it comes to numbers, that is dicey. The mass shootings are a sensitive issue so when the headline blasts 50 dead, when that was not confirmed, that is not good.
- We also get into a headline that reads 24 feared dead...as in the recent California boat fire. Is that necessary at this point. Many feared dead would be better.
* Media is now 24/7 and with social media, they can update in real time. That is good, but it needs the proper perspective. Do not just put in wrong, overheard info and then say the situation is fluid and will change. Qualify that right away if you feel the need to give out early info.
- Being first now is not the best anymore. Too many are being first with the wrong info these days.
* Media actually blew it once again on hurricane coverage. Yes, they happen and do strike land, but it is how they are covered is at issue. They start the blanket coverage and unnecessary panic reporting so far out.
- Do not really not know where the hurricane will make landfall or are they covering for a potential mistake?
- Yes, we get it. It rains, and it very windy, even if it does not make landfall.
- TV anchors and reporters need to quit talking down to the viewers, as if they are the experts. They are lecturing about what the weather folk are saying. Oh yes, a storm surge, there is a storm surge.
- In order to cover themselves, they are over-selling what they are reporting. They are suggesting that, look even if it does not make landfall, it is still bad, so our reporting was not over-the-top, etc. They get defensive if it goes differently. That would not happen if they tempered their coverage, that would solve the issue. When it gets close, go all in, but not a full week or two out.
* Much of the reporting was "could" and "if." Not will. The same was true for Lawrence O'Donnell as he reported on a Trump bombshell, he thought. He used "if true." We cannot start using the "if true" when it comes to basic reporting. That is for speculation and that is more about sports. And that is sometimes not even close to be accurate when the game is played. Pundits are ruining TV news and the hosts are feeling that blowback.
* Since so many people are doing what they think is journalism on social media, they likely do not have guidelines and the know-how to do it right. That is why us, who were trained in it and worked in the field, need to be better than them. Trying to keep up can make some lose that and it means they will not follow the usual guidelines that we have always used.
* When a story breaks (it does not have to be deep news, either), you will see Facebook and social media put out the same story over and over. One person or outlet will have it and then the others follow. But, they do nothing more with the info. They will just Tweet out the same story. It goes on and on that way, whether it is a breaking news item or gossip. That is what I mean by it needs to change.
Take, for an example this item: "The Black Panther" has a release date. Good, but what do you do from there?
- immediately Tweet it out so you have it right away?
- Tweet from others?
- Troll others with a snarky comment right away?
- Or do you look for more info and something different than all the others have?
Try the last one and then Tweet it out.
Again, rampant speculation is not always necessary on something that will not be happening for years down the road. It is better to say "The IG Report is coming out in late August? Not, the report is coming out so let's speculate about what we think will be in it for five hours. Again, this is for news hosts and anchors, and editors and reporters. A TV news host does risk his or her credibility by whom they have as pundits. My view is TV news shows should avoid the roundtables and airing of pundits.