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OK, so why is weather news?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ColbertNation, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    I thought of jacking Inky's thread, but decided against it.

    At least once a week, our paper will run a weather story as a 1A centerpiece (that's an average -- some weeks, we might not have any; some weeks we'll run 2 or 3). Why? Is it because it makes for good art? I hesitate to bring this to the bosses' attention, but there's weather every day. And folks are more likely to see the weather when they pick up their paper before they read about it on the front page.
    We had a story that was about 2 months in the making get bumped to Page 10 last week because there were thunderstorms that night (no power outages or major accidents; just lots of thunder, lightning and downpours).
    Shouldn't a weather story, especially a prominent one, be reserved for a major event (i.e. blizzard, flooding, heatwave, ice storm)? As with everything, if you play up all of them, none of them seems very important.
  2. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    Weather stories were very popular with the bosses of one of my first stops. The reason was that they don't offend anyone. No one cancels their paper because you put a thunderstorm on the cover.
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    People like it, and it's one of the few truly common experiences a community has left.
  4. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Don't know that a significant story months in the works should have been bumped in favor of a weather story that didn't sound that momentous.

    That said, weather is a huge, if sometimes taken-for-granted, part of life.

    The everyday-ness, and yet, the pervasiveness of it, as well as the range and breadth of its effects on the day-to-day life of everyone, makes the weather not only a legitimate chit-chat subject, topic of conversation, and news topic. Even on routine days.

    It's a significant part of why people often make major moves from one area of the country to another, for example.

    And, it's why newspapers always hear about it from readers if/when the weather map or page is ever omitted or significantly altered.

    The weather page might seem to be the most disposable, least-read thing in the paper. But readers always miss it and complain if it's not there.

    YGBFKM Guest

    In certain areas (Florida), weather is life and death. Can't ignore that.
  6. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Weather is an easy local story. Has been for the last 150 years.
  7. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    "How about yesterday's weather reports? For the people that were too drunk and slept all day?
    "Why don't you try taking that to the San Francisco Chronicle. They could use it."
  8. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member

    There are times when the weather is the news.. (a blizzard that shuts down the city, for example, or a tornado or damaging T-storm).

    A garden-variety storm with no damage should never be a story though.
  9. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member

    Have to love an "All The President's Men" reference.

  10. gutenberg

    gutenberg Guest

    RickStain knows what he is talking about.

    Haven't any of you scored a women's phone number with a conversation that started with 'Damn, it's hot' or 'Brrrrr, it's cold outside' or 'can't believe another hurricane is headed our way' or 'Mt. Helens is about to erupt! What do we do?'

    If not, you homebodies need to try those lines. They work every time on the average to chubby girls.
  11. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    If you have a cool place to take a lightning photo from, with a nice background/foreground, it can be an ok standalone.

    But yea, a weather story with no damage is horrible, especially if it knocks an in-depth story to page 10.

    Colbert, why didn't they just hold the two-month, in-depth story til the next day?
  12. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    One of the first things my reporting prof taught us was this: When writing a story, you need to ask yourself: Who cares?

    I think almost everyone cares about the weather.
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