Friday, October 26, 2012

BE AFRAID: Frankenstorm Is Going to Destroy Everything You Own.

This guy admits that "FrankenStorm" is a name a meteorologist in College Park made up.

Is it responsible for journalists to perpetuate the name? Does it help illustrate the potential for damage and devastation, or does it just scare the hell out of you?

14 comments:

JustinWagner said...

Hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your ballots, cause Frankenstorm is scaring everybody out here!

But on a serious note, this definitely illustrates the potential this storm has to offer. Modern scientists can't even classify it, that's why this title is so perfect, yet terrifying.

My Father, Director of Public Safety in Hunterdon County, sent me a ton of emails concerning Hurricane Sandy today...

What I want to know is, was FrankenStorm (Sandy) a surprise? Because why are we just hearing about it two days before it hits us?

Is this storm an omen for something larger?

Meredith Thomas said...

When I first heard Hurricane Sandy referred to as "FrankenStorm," I just thought that it was in reference to Halloween. Now that I know the reasoning to the name, it makes more sense to me. I don't think the name helps to illustrate the potential for damage or devastation, nor do I think it is up to journalists to perpetuate the name. The name isn't necessary and is not making the understanding or awareness evident to the public.Even though the name is catchy and placing humor on a serious situation, it is not getting the vital information across. By describing what the storm actually is, what it will entail, and where it will hit would be the most beneficial to the public.

Samantha Tighe said...

It depends on the situation and, more importantly, I think it all comes down to phrasing. If a journalist is railing on how terrible “Frankenstorm” is going to be and how people best start preparing then yes, I think most people are going to be frightened. Journalists, especially meteorologists, have to be careful. Look at what happened to John Bolaris and his coverage of his so-called ‘Storm of the Century’ back in 2001. He was so convinced that the region was going to be absolutely annihilated by this massive snowstorm. It’s not like he completely fabricated his idea either, originally it did start out strong. As it got closer to us, however, its power began to wane. When other stations and reporters saw it losing strength, they toned back their coverage of it. Bolaris, however, wouldn’t change his stance. He made it seem like that storm was going to hit us and hit us hard. He had people absolutely terrified. In the end, we got only a couple of inches. People were pissed about his perceived overreaction. His career never recovered and I think he lost a lot of credibility because of it. I think the safest bet is to just refer to the storm by its original name because when people think they've been fooled, they go looking for blood.

Laura Ordonez said...

"FrankenStorm" scares the hell out of me but does not illustrate the storm's potential for damage. There are not accurate forecasts regarding the storm given the underfunding and mismanagement of weather satellites. It is responsible for journalists to caution people about the weather, but not to spread panic when there is inaccurate information.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/27/us/dying-satellites-could-lead-to-shaky-weather-forecasts.html?hp&_r=0

Moumita Ghosh said...

I think that it is not responsible for journalists to perpetuate the name. But I do not think that the name helps to illustrate the potential for damage and devastation. I think that name Frankenstorm just scares people away than illustrating the potential for damage and devastation. This name did scare me because it made me think of 2 or 3 different things put together and that FrankenStorm is the syntheis of 2 or 3 different storms just like Frankenstein is a synthesis of 2 or 3 different things. But I think that it is a lot more important and beneficial to give people information on the actual storm, the regions it is going to hit, when it is going to hit those regions and other descriptions and potential of the storm. It is way more important to give information on the actual storm than coming up with these names such as-FrankenStorm for it.

Elle Alva said...

I was down the shore all weekend and felt the effects for the storm as early as Saturday.
I cannot recall if I have even heard anything about the storm last week, since my weekend was planned to be down the shore. Early afternoon on Saturday, a Wells Fargo Bank, the local Library, Wawa’s was boarded up and the supermarkets closed. The streets leading to Atlantic City were a ghost town.

I think the name is clever and yet it slips my mind if I can recall hearing about the storm before Friday. The storm name compliments the scariness of Halloween. Last year’s this time for Halloween we had a terrible snow storm, and this year we have Hurricane Sandy.

I think the name just adds more hype to the storm. Even though the storm has been intense so far the name doesn’t add anymore fear. The name is simply a name. The damage caused by the storm is not measured by its name. The storm does scare me and the sdafetly of my loved ones along the coast, I hope everyone is safe and warm!

Adam Wrigley said...

I certainly don't think it's irresponsible for some journalists to continue using the name "FrankenStorm;" nor do I believe that the nickname is what frightens most people. While the use of “FrankenStorm” may slightly add to some people’s worries, I believe the majority are frightened more by the media’s actual warnings and coverage of the storm, rather than what they refer to it as. "FrankenStorm" is simply a nickname that epitomizes the storm’s composition. Moreover, “FrankenStorm” is seasonally relevant. The media is constantly creating memes like “FrankenStorm” or “Bounty-gate” for its stories. Those nicknames just make it easier for audiences to understand the content of the story.

Bob Stewart said...

I think Frankenstorm was appropriate given the fact that it was a combination of a hurricane and cold front/low pressure system which is rare, maybe every 20 years or so, coupled with the fact that Halloween was so close. Since this rare combo happened over a populated area as opposed to the North Atlantic, a monster name works.

People don't understand technical weather terms so something like this does more good than harm.

Christian Matozzo said...

The media's job has become to promote a "culture of fear in the United States, a place where everyone has to be so scared out of their mind all the time so they can keep buying plenty of items they don't need.

Look out, a hurricane is coming! Quick, run to our sponsor's store and buy EVERYTHING!

Using terms like "Frankenstorm" only promote this.

Also, does anyone else find journalists standing out in the rain telling us the condition and risking their own life at the same time dumb? I just don't get why they're out there. It's one thing if you've got say a cameraman in a helicopter or a car showing damage, but the guy does not need to stand out there in the rain and report what we can already clearly see happening. It is redundant.

Eric Newby said...

I understand that it is "better safe than sorry," but come on...the storm of the century? The storm to end all storms? People Overhype things to the greatest extent possible. I hate it when my mom and dad frantically call, saying something like, "This storm is going to be HUGE, you need to take cover, we need to board everything up and survive!" Thousands of people are affected by the words of meteorologists and journalists alike. It doesn't matter if they say 1,000 words or 10 words, they impact us. They should absolutely NOT perpetuate names of storms like this. However, we do need to be cautious...just not scared out of our minds.

Chelsea Ann Rovnan said...

I can honestly say that I can see where everyone is coming from on this topic. I tend to find myself being on both sides at times. However, I do think that some people are forced into action only through fear.

When I was watching the world news for the Media Comparison assignment, 6ABC had an interview with one of the firefighters. He had given a bit of a warning to the public saying, "I hope it's a lesson for everyone who stayed. Next time: evacuate." I can understand that some, like the elderly woman they had interviewed prior to talking to the firefighter, felt as though that the storm wasn't going to be half as bad as the media was portraying it to be. She had said that her and her husband had fled years ago for Katrina. Afterwards, she felt as if it had been a pointless evacuation because they weren't hit that bad. However, after Hurricane Sandy she started to think that maybe it's just not worth the risk from now on. She soon regretted not leaving her home. Others made poor excuses, saying "They kept telling us to evacuate, but where did they expect us to go?" Hmm... I don't know. Maybe like one of the shelters they had set up? Or possibly a relative's? It may seem harsh, but as a daughter of a First-Responder whose father has to go out and be one of the ones to rescue people in dangerous conditions, especially during the height of the storm, I'd appreciate it if people (who are fully capable) evacuate when asked to.

I think the name for the storm was clever and effective. it did illustrate the potential for damage and devastation. Plus, as many have already mentioned, it gave a bit of a holiday twist to the situation.

Sure, the media has a tendency to blow things out of proportion. I'm not going to deny that. If anything, safety is not something to mess with. Therefore, scaring the hell out of people isn't the way to go, but letting them know the potential danger is important.

Emily Huber said...

I also equated the whole "frankenstorm" name with the fact that the storm was forcast to hit right around Halloween. I didn't take it seriously, and it didn't really leave me feeling terrified or worried.

Although, I think the main reason they named it Frankenstorm was to warn people of the intensity of the storm and inform them of the potential devastation that it could (and ended up) causing. Looking back, Frankenstorm was the perfect name for it; but before the storm hit, it had no impact on me whatsoever.

Andrew Salciunas said...

Andrew Salciunas

As "Frankenstorm" was approaching the Tri-State area, the initial thought on my mind and on the minds of others seemed to all be the same. "This storm is just getting talked up like any other and will do no serious damage."

The day I was informed that class would be cancelled on Temple's campus for the apparent days Sandy would be reaching landfall, I took advantage and went home to help out my family for precautionary acts around my house. As the day went on, it was nothing but jokes and laughter about the weak storm that flew right over my home town in my over prepared house. As we sat and waited for something to happen we grew tired and went to bed.

As we all woke up to watch the morning news, the jokes and laughter were silenced. With the visuals of the Jersey shore coastline and the destruction shown all over New York, "Frankenstorm" was no longer a joke.

My initial thoughts of the nick name given to Sandy made me laugh. Why journalists would use a "cute" holiday themed name to try to scare people about an upcoming storm was beyond me. The name could only provide human interest beside the fact that it involves weather which of course is one of the most popular types of media. This in my mind is bad journalism.

What people took as a joke due to the childish name of an old horror film ended up destroying the homes and even lives of many families. The name should have been saved for the post-newscasts of the storm. This monstrous storm really did affect many lives and was not just another "talked up storm."

Emily Charles said...

While yes, the name "Frankenstorm" does describe the potential of the storm, it is unnecessary for journalists to continue the use of the name. The name "Frankenstorm" makes the storm out to be not only a hurricane but some exotic, never-seen-before tragedy that is basically coming to destroy us all. The name just scares it's audience. And, even if it doesn't scare you, some see the term "Frankenstorm" as giving a potentially disastrous storm a "cute" nickname, thus trivializing it.