Friday, June 12, 2009

Comments, Questions, and Answers

Storm Clean-Up

Lots of comments about Thursday night (6-11-09) TV storm coverage after the NewsMcNabb post. Thank you for your gracious words. I enjoyed “working the story.” As one writer said, “Thanks for the critique... you sound like you were as busy as everyone else but in a slightly different form of coverage... covering those who cover the weather.” It’s true, but I didn’t get wet. My wife feared that I’d be struck by lightning as I unsuccessfully attempted to grab a bolt with my camera. I guess should leave that to the experts.

I’d made a note during the storm, “assignments Manager in the [KXAN TV] newsroom …” I didn’t see it when I was writing, but a reader also made a note: “That guy in the breaking newsroom on 36 was really cool, calm and collected too!”

Other readers had questions. One asked whether Mark Murray, KVUE-TV (ABC) chief meteorologist, was on KVUE 2, their digital channel. The answer is no. “We put the [NBA Finals] game on KVUE 2,” says Frank Volpicella, news director.

Another reader wondered if stations streamed coverage on the Internet? “We didn’t stream on because of our use of the double box. It would have looked tiny at the web,” Volpicella said. Elsewhere, KEYE did stream coverage. “Yes we did,” says Sousa Williams, KEYE TV (CBS) web executive producer. Their web coverage started “a little after she [Susan Vessell, chief meteorologist] went full time.” I noticed that KXAN had real-time radar online, and they put out timely email alerts. However, I didn’t think to fire up my laptop to keep tabs on the web coverage. Next time, I’ll try to add that to the mix.

When weather generates so much chatter it underscores the fact that weather coverage is a driver for the competing newsroom. Many people emailed saying that they were doing much the same sampling that I was, except they were using only one TV. What the consultants say is true—when the audience finds what it wants, it stops surfing. One writer longed for video of damage. KXAN’s Shannon Wolfson showed hail damage during her on-and-off-and-on again live shot, and there was a picture of an overturned light airplane sent in by a viewer. The damage was in the Hill Country. Those pictures will dominate tonight’s [Friday's] news.

Meanwhile, a KXAN email alert moments ago as I write tells of a Tornado Watch for our northern counties. Here we go again.

© Jim McNabb, 2009

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