Monday, January 23, 2012

Really, Really Poor Journalism

I'm now in New Orleans (2.5 hours late, thanks Continental!) for the AMS Annual Meeting and several friends alerted me to Dianne Sawyer reporting, and emphasizing, earlier this evening there was "no warning" of the overnight tornadoes (see posting below). Here is the video:

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This seems to confirm my suspicion that there is a key on journalists' word processors that says "there was no warning" and they simply press that key every time they have to do a story about storms.

Dianne: There was plenty of warning, starting 21 hours before the tornado struck!

Meteorologists really face an uphill battle:  The media keeps inaccurately telling people that storm after storm occurs without warning.

The public, who -- outside of the affected area -- doesn't know better, assumes the media reporting is correct.

So, when a tornado warning affects them, they don't act on it. Why should they?! The warnings are no good!

There is a really good book on this subject I could recommend to Dianne....

UPDATE: 9AM Tuesday:  Another blog post with the step-by-step of the warning process in Alabama.

UPDATE II:  Thank you Capital Weather Gang for the link.


  1. EVERY TIME there's a story in the media that I have any personal knowledge about, I catch them making substantive errors. I therefore assume they are roughly as accurate with the other stories they do.

    Someone ought to grab the watches and warnings with the date stamps when they were issued, contact the network's ombudsman and demand a correction.

    I won't hold my breath waiting for one though.

  2. Here is the place to submit feedback to ABC News:

    Go to James Spann's Facebook page. The outpouring of gratitude from his viewers for his all-night marathon of warnings is touching.

  3. Understood. And I agree, the mentioned recommendation for Dianne is a really good book on the subject.

  4. Unfortunately ABC and its affiliates. Including our local affiliate in Houston are more concerned about investigative reporting and sensationalism than accurate reporting. It has reached a point where their news and weather are useless and are ignored by the general public. Pushing their own political agendas and sealing ratings are their story of the day.

  5. Thanks for the story. I have went to the above ABC website and aired my concerns about this flawed statement by Diane.

    Mike B.


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