Thursday, December 13, 2007

Remember the 10 Immutable Laws of Local News Storm Coverage

With a foot of snow coming this way for this evening, and then another foot coming for the Pats-Jets game Sunday, I thought it would be important to remember the 10 immutable laws of local news storm coverage. Because honestly, can't we give Dick Albert his moment in the spotlight? I updated the list ever so slightly (goodbye, Dick Cheney gun joke!) to keep it fresh for the kids, but these rules are immutable, so they remain the same as last year.

Remember, if there's snow in new England, our local news teams will do the following:

  1. Send out reporters to at least two of the following four coastal areas: Revere/Winthrop, Hull, Scituate or Gloucester. At at least one location a wave will clear the sea wall. Run clip 743 times.
  2. Send a reporter to somewhere along Route 128. During the blizzard of '78, motorists died as they became stuck on the clogged road and snow covered their vehicles' exhaust pipes. That will never happen again, but there needs to be a reporter on the scene for the possibility of a corpse interview.
  3. If the station has a bigger budget, send someone to Worcester City Hall, which serves as a reminder that there is some form of civilization in Baja Vermont after all.
  4. Doppler radar: This is a new entry to the weather coverage. It's no longer good enough to get radar information from the National Weather Service. Each station must have its own doppler radar tower that will provide "up to the minute" coverage of a 36 hour Snow Event.
  5. Call the storm a Snow Event. This is mandatory.
  6. Keep at least two weathermen (ahem, meteorologists) inside the station at all times. It makes the team look rugged, like one is on the air while the other is catching 10 minutes of sleep on a cot set up in a broom closet somewhere. Like firefighters, or Jerry Lewis during the telethon.
  7. The anchors get to wear sweaters, like they just came in unexpectedly, and weren't aware they were working the extended Snow Event shift like four days ago. No blazer or otherwise professional clothing. If I can't believe that Ed Harding was at home splitting firewood when he was called for the extended coverage, then clearly NewsCenter Five doesn't care about the Snow Event.
  8. Nothing is a bigger story than the Snow Event, even when baseball announces everyone who ever played the game cheated.
  9. The following events, if captured on film, must be shown at least 743 times: A man falls, a car fishtails, water clears the sea wall (see rule #1), close-up of plows clearing the highway, kids with shovels trying to make some extra cash, a reporter losing their hat or hood in the wind. There are others, but these are your meat and potatoes.
  10. At least one meteorologist must wonder out load "Will we get to official blizzard status?" and then remind us of the rules of a blizzard as defined by blah blah blah.