- Bring extra socks. Whether it's summer thunderstorms, tornadoes or ice storms. Always bring another pair. Your feet will thank you.
- Snacks. Snacks. Snacks. The likelihood of having a chance to stop for lunch on a crazy storm day is slim to none, and then to find something open during a storm? Don't risk it and don't risk becoming a hangry reporter. I always pack peanut butter sandwiches because they can stay good throughout the day. Along with trailmix, fruit snacks and apples.
- Go with the flow. Things are crazy back in the newsroom. Things are coming in on the police scanners, accidents are happening, trees could be falling, be ready to move where your assignment desk needs to send you.
- Demonstrate! Our viewers are inside (hopefully!) and while we are blatantly ignoring our own advice to stay off the roads and stay indoors, we are out there to show them WHY. Show them how slick that road is, point out how thick the ice is on a nearby branch or the hood of the car. Use a ruler to demonstrate how much snow has fallen.
- Always keep your eye out. This should be a given every day as a reporter but sometimes we can get bogged down looking at social media to see how people are reacting to the storm, or checking emails, but storm days are the prim example of looking around. You might see a tree down, or a power line arching precariously close to a home. You might spot the family playing in the snow that would make a great element to coverage of how people are spending the day. If your head is buried in your phone you just might miss those stories.
Does anyone remember the girl band B*Witched? They had that hit song "Blame it on the Weatherman," can't remember? Do yourself a favor and relive the 90s and watch it here. But when we're not talking unrequited love, it's not as easy to just blame the weather on the weather man. We were in Storm Mode all weekend at KMOV, along with the rest of St. Louis. There was a threat of a major ice storm that essentially shut down a good portion of the state for 36 hours.
In the end it did not get as bad as predicted. But all it would have taken was a degree or two of difference. I am not a meteorologist, heck, I was absolutely terribly at science in school, but I trust our meteorologist who study those models and do their best to predict the unpredictable. Its frustrating sometimes to see them getting hated on all the time. But part of our job in TV is to take the criticism along with the praise, although there recently seems to be much more of the former...
Storm coverage is always a crazy day. Whether it's an ice storm or a tornado, it's always hectic, you have to be ready to drop what your doing (mid-interview even!) and switch gears. There's an adrenaline rush that sticks with you through out the day that helps make you forget you haven't drank any water and all you've eaten in nine hours was a smashed peanut butter sandwiched. But weather coverage remains the number one reason people turn to local news. Local reporters and local meteorologists know the area, I can tell you that the overpass onto 170 is iced over or that you should head to a different Schnucks because the one in South County is completely sold out of bread. (I did no less then five live shots from the bread aisle during last week's storm). You're iPhone weather app or even the national Weather Channel is never going to be able to give pin-pointed info for traveling your specific neighborhood in a storm.
Here are my lessons learned during storm coverage:
Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find a behind the scenes look at the day-to-day life of a TV news reporter. I have a love for food, traveling and all things St. Louis. This is a place for me to write a bit more about my passions.