Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Is a Hurricane in The Gulf Region News in Philadelphia? Or Around The World?

News outlets around the world have been reporting on the potential impact of Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf region.

Some of the interest is because there was potential for the hurricane to disrupt the Republican Convention in Tampa (which it didn't). Now, the focus seems to be on whether the hurricane will damage the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Should the reporters be speculating on the potential damage? Does that protect people who could potentially be injured in some way? Or does this simply spread fear?

Check out the image on the right. An LA weather reporter superimposed Hurricane Isaac over California in order to show the magnitude of the hurricane.

Is that a responsible thing to do or does that give people the impression that California will be struck by the hurricane?

Finally, should the hurricane in the Gulf region be news in Philadelphia? Or California? Or anywhere away from the Gulf region?

16 comments:

Andrew Sifari said...

I have no problem with people being alert; better safe that sorry, for sure. However,people watching these newscasts do not need to be reminded about Hurricane Katrina. People tend to panic, like when people were getting anthrax (not the band) in the mail and so people were all afraid of the mail, and things like that. The news is meant to be informative, not merely speculative, especially if they aren't quite sure they'll be right.

Chelsea Elizabeth. said...

I believe that it is very important for people to be aware of what is going on in their country, even if it is on the other side simply because all together we make up one nation and it's important that we work together during natural disasters but people tend to be over dramatic any chance that they get so I think it is also important for people to be aware of the actual scientific percentage that they will be harmed and not just what the newscasters are speculating themselves (The superimposed hurricane isaac should have not be shown because that could lead to panic in places that don't need to be under that current stress).

Chelsea Finn

Bob Dieckmann said...

An event such as this hurricane can certainly be newsworthy. Aside from the weather alert stories, Isaac's impact on the Gulf Coast offers us a chance to draw parallels between this storm and Katrina. It's been exactly seven years, yes. But what I'm more interested in is the post storm federal response. How fast will aid reach the needy knowing what we have learned from the last time? Will the newly built levies hold up this time around?

There are plenty of angles to cover in an event of this size that affects so many people.

Bob Stewart said...

It is certainly newsworthy but at varying levels. It is important and immediately relevant to the Southeastern U.S. But it is also important to the West and Northeast as not only are we fellow citizens sharing an economy, but we support and benefit from the same tax base.

This storm affected oil production in the Gulf which has already caused higher prices at the gas pump. Our tax dollars will be used for clean up purposes. Since that was famously botched seven years ago, perhaps a healthy debate about the process is in order. Finally, and related to the tax part, knowing about these hurricane related problems may also stimulate debate on whether we should even be rebuilding an area 10 feet below sea level.

Mariel Coughlin said...

I feel as though this topic is newsworthy. Anything that effects a large group of people in the US should be somewhat heard. Hurricanes to me are a big deal, people should know whats going on in the states around them. It can bring people together in some social way.

Bob Stewart said...

As an aside, does anyone notice that the California weather reporter is wearing a dress that looks like the hurricane warning flag?

Unknown said...

I'm an exchange student, and I think this hurricane should be news in Philadelphia and even in the world. If the hurricane really caused tremendous damage, the whole nation would be affected. If the US faced a disaster, it would certainly draw the attention of most of the countries in the world since the US is influential in international society.

Colleen McGuigan said...

I believe that it is important for reporters to report severe weather that is going to hit. I think they should tell viewers about potential damange so people are able to take action before the storm hits. Some people believe that hurricanes aren't much of a threat so they don't evacuate, which results in people risking their lives. I think that the hurricane should be news in Philadelphia, in case people have family or friends living where the hurricane is supposed to hit. In my opinion reporting about the hurricane is a positive thing because it prepares people of what is to come.

Sarah E. McCloskey said...

Since it's not your typical sunny day/rainy day type of weather, I think it's important for reporters to cover this ONLY in regions that are currently being affected. It's in the county or town's agenda to make citizens aware of possible or potential damage, not a news reporters. I wouldn't feel obligated to seal off my windows unless the actual county's municipal office advised me to.

-Sarah E. McCloskey

Dan Weeden said...

Major weather concerns, both within the country or overseas are worthy of equal coverage and attention. The real issue may be, that often times in broadcasts today, tragic or extraordinary events become white noise, sandwiched between sports highlights and American Idol results. I think the idea of superimposing the hurricane graphics over the California area shows creativity. If nothing else, it opened up a few eyes and maybe some viewers were actually able to relate to and absorb the impact of the storm.

Zahara Hill said...

The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina attracted global attention and the possibility of another hurricane affecting the same area near the 7 year anniversary of Katrina is almost as likely to grab global attention as the actual event that took place in 2005. In Freakonomics, one of the authors stated that more time and energy is put into the possibility of an event occurring whether or not the event has a significant likelihood of taking place. News broadcasters are aware of this and this is why numerous stories become sensationalized. When our interest or curiosity is peaked we are likely to continuously return to these news outlets as sources of information to satiate our curiosity. These stations want to be that reliable source of information and this is why they'll tell us to go to their website or tune in at 11 for more details on the story. While the media's objective is to inform they are also slightly self-interested. While Hurricane Isaac and its potential for damage are important and newsworthy, it attracts a broader audience than sports stories or neighborhood events. The media is aware of this and once a viewer or reader has sought a media outlet for a story, they are likely to become engaged in other stories and keep returning to their source which will advance that specific outlet as their audience is growing.

Dave Cornfield said...

I believe the hurricane is news in Philadelphia and any other United States city. Simply because this is national news; it's not local news but it's a story that the country will be talking about and that news channel needs to keep the consumer updated on all things news.

Catherine Palmer said...

Yes, I believe that the hurricane is definately news in Philadelphia. People need to be informed even if the topic doesn't directly effect them, because in some way, shape or form it will effect them. People need to be educated and prepared. We all share the planet, therefore we all need to know what's going on in all the different ares of the world. It's national news and I believe that everybody is entitled to know what's going on and everyone should want to know what's going on.

Gina Everett said...

The hurricane should be news in Philadelphia and across the nation. Hurricane Katrina became a nationally important natural disaster that united the country around helping its own. Just because it may not be happening right next door doesn't mean it's not important to different people in different places.

Moumita Ghosh said...

I think that reporters should talk to us about the potential damage of the hurricane because sometimes that is needed in order to keep people safe. It makes people aware and keeps them safe. I am actually also okay with the image shown on the right to show hurricane Issac over California, one again it never hurts to make people really really alert and aware of a hurricane in order to protect them so that they will stay safe. While it is important for us in Philadelphia to know what is going on the Gulf region and be aware of news in other places, I do not think that a lot of people care about news outside of their own areas. So people in Philadelphia, California or somewhere away from the Gulf Region will not care so much about hurricane in the Gulf region because it does not directly impact or affect their lives.

Tsega Tesfaye said...

Anytime a hurricane occurs I think it should be newsworthy. Even if it might not be affecting you at the moment you might have family or friends who are being affected by it. You never know when the course of a storm may decide to change. You would want to know the status of the storm. I think it's good to always be proactive then sorry later.