With spring storm season here, I was eager to watch the locals show off their meteorologists and storm coverage during a recent tornado warning. It was a weekend. A nationally televised sporting event was happening in town, one channel had a NASCAR race running and March Madness was cooking too. These obviously add a lot of pressure to the weekend crews. I could write an article on how obvious it was which stations planned ahead for this possible scenario and which obviously left weekend crews high and dry. (The threat of storms was forecast days in advance.) But frankly, talking about how bad that is to do to a weekend crew is just too obvious. So let’s talk about something interesting I really noticed during this Sunday after storm. Reporters and meteorologists were tweeting from home, with compelling elements to really “own “ station coverage online.
Two stations really stood out for this. Anchors, reporters and meteorologist hopped on Twitter and talked about what the storms were doing at their location despite clearly having the day off. They asked for descriptions from Twitter followers. They added information beyond the studio crew.
My favorite highlights: a weekday meteorologist who was off, started sending out information about areas that were about to see rain bands and wind. A weekday news anchor (also off that day) started describing what the weather was like and showed images too. Reporters started conversations with followers about what the skies looked like overhead, whether they were ducking for cover and even how the kids were reacting to the wind and rain bands. The tweets were real, appropriate and created tangible connections with the community they served. Very cool!
When tweeting about the weather keep in mind that it is an incredible instant connection to people directly impacted by what you are covering. Allow discussion. It can create amazing moments and connections that will help supplement your station’s on-air coverage. In my case, I had switched to another station to watch when tweets started coming in from a competitor that explained what was happening so well, I switched again. I knew that was the station that was giving the best explanation of what to expect. The bases were truly covered by a dedicated staff that contributed any way they could, willingly. These journalists wanted to be watchdogs for their community, even when it was their day off. A big win for sure.