When it comes to covering hurricanes, broadcast media have a tremendous advantage over their print counterparts.
TV can cover the storms live and show their latest locations. Back in the day, Dan Rather could stand on a beach amid wind and rain as viewers sat and watched in their living rooms.
Newspapers, on the other hand, struggle with storms. The latest forecasts that go to print at midnight and land on readers’ driveways at dawn are already out of date. So are the maps that show a hurricane’s location and projected path.
That’s why I was surprised this morning while watching the Weather Channel as I got ready for work. I wanted to get the latest information on Hurricane Earl.
One reporter on North Carolina’s Outer Banks concluded her live coverage by holding up today’s edition of the Virginian-Pilot and pointing out the photo at the top of the page. The next reporter, standing on a sunny beach in Massachusetts, began his story by showing the front page of the Cape Cod newspaper and used it to describe preparations in the area.
At least these broadcasters are giving credit where it’s due. But the image of Weather Channel reporters holding up print newspapers to support their coverage is odd. Can’t they do their own work?