Ideas Posts

How Weather Departments Need to Be Rethinking Their Roles

a screengrab from a twitter retweet from Jaisol Martinez, meteorologist from WHDH-TV from 2022

I am skeptical of meteorology in local news; and it’s not the usual suspects of they over-hype, or it’s not accurate, or not relevant in my back yard. Lot of it as the excessive data without it being applicable to the average viewers. Or should I say “average” in 2005 standards when the viewers were a bit more intelligent, no offense.

In the last five years, I’ve seen local media go down the tubes in local weather forecasting. The worse offense is the “[X] days to [Y] event” such as “52 days to Daylight Saving” or “29 days to 8:00pm Sunsets”. Or 12 Days to Spring Training in midst of a mild winter. I understand the intention of meteorologists trying to spruce up the viewers especially with depressing and polarizing news. Local news is not the place for meteorologists to make people feel better.

In today’s note, I like give praise to Jaisol Martinez, the midday meteorologist at WHDH-TV’s 7 News. I know that format and station can be notorious to a few for decades, but sometimes the station actually can do something that’s great for the viewers. Such as the tweet posted by her over the weekend.

a screengrab from a twitter retweet from Jaisol Martinez, meteorologist from WHDH-TV from 2022

I think these kinds of cases of using X to Y data points is important. In the graphic she posted,  there had been only 27 days over 100° in the City of Boston since records had been kept in 1872 and an average of 1 in 6 years. This is where I like the meteorologist to get a bit analytical. I admire Jaisol because she’ll keep you in the know, even if she’s not working or in studio like in this tweet:

 

It’s no different than say Joe Kernen on CNBC when he was once the assigned “Stocks Editor” that would highlight stocks that would be trading in an unusually up or down direction. The weather is like the markets, you can track them as trends, find the abnormal (or normal) patterns. Weather can be even charted, it’s simple X to the Y.

Many of the workstations used for weather at many of the local stations are very powerful, Mostly HPE’s Z-series workstations or Dell’s Precision line workstations. The days of Silicon Graphics has been so 2006 as regular souped up PCs have caught up in performance and costs. Not to mention these stations are tied to products made by WSI or Barron, which has a lot more data that can be accessed from their subscriptions (meaning the data can be done online as opposed to the workstations.)

In short, I think the viewers would actually appreciate more tangible data, than the more motivational stats. I know 7 News gets a lot of flack from media critics, but their weather department has been solid for years and years. I think its important to spread some kind acts of positive acts when it warrants.

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