Blogging by the open window tonight, with the TV off. It's so wonderful to be without background noise sometimes. Also a great opportunity to slap down some of my recent thoughts about the profession I somehow found myself in.
I still smile when I walk by the newsroom bulletin board, full of thank you notes-- some formal, one scribbled on a postcard. The handwriting reveals a range of generations but most carry the same message-- 'Thanks for your Hurricane Irene coverage!' Of course we all love a little positive reinforcement, but each time I see them, it reminds of why television news is so important. Our wall-to-wall coverage that weekend really mattered to people.
Severe weather conditions are one of those non-discriminating, across the board concerns that touch all of us. It doesn't matter what corner of Hampton Roads or the country you live in--if a hurricane is coming, you and the people you love could be in danger. The seemingly endless coverage by TV news outlets is no doubt tiresome for many, but also a testament to that old saying, 'knowledge is power'. In my experience, it's the unknown of what 50 MPH winds can do, or how fast water can rise that is so scary and captivating. TV news takes you there. We show you what's not safe to check out on your own. How bad is it in your cousin's neighborhood? Is the downtown area drivable? We tell you. Despite all the jabs (my eye doctor recently asked, "You weren't one of the idiots standing out in the hurricane, were you??"), it's valuable. It means a lot to a lot of people.
As I approach my first anniversary at WVEC, I've come to believe more and more that my peers and I perform at our best in the most challenging times. Sleeping on hard cots next to snoring co-workers, being absolutely drenched to the bone and not completely sure you won't blow away, and finding sand in EVERY crevice of every news car for weeks to come is no deterrent. Our coverage was about sharing stories, keeping people safe and connecting our audience to the outside world in a time when mother nature was stirring up trouble. And the newsroom food isn't bad either. :)