The ongoing messaging struggle

I recently wrote about the challenge of presenting weather dangers in a clearer manner, and how important it was to clarify the risk represented by much of our sometimes vague terminology.

Another problem is that most consumers receive their weather from the media, and the media does indeed to need to drive viewership. I am of the opinion that people who are watching the news are already in it for the weather forecast, as it will help guide their decisions for the day, but some corporate overseers see it differently.

Meteorologist Joe Crain was recently terminated for espousing the opinion found in the above video. His station’s corporate management insisted upon a certain number of “Code Red” weather days with no real threshold for what that meant. Obviously, that runs counter to the efforts of increasing weather awareness for the every day person.

Overwarning, or in this case overpromoting severe weather is akin to crying wolf. If a Code Red day can mean rain for three or four days, how can the viewer know that Code Red means severe thunderstorms or tornadoes on another day?

But alas, the bottom line is financial, especially when a national corporation owns a local TV station, rather than public safety. While Crain was in the right by most clear thinking opinions, he definitely ran afoul of his employers’ business plan. It’s a blight for all meteorologists.

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