5 Ways Weather Teams Can Add to Coronavirus Coverage

Heller-Weather-Blog-Coronavirus

These days, most of the news on the news is about Coronavirus. And since most sporting events have been canceled or postponed, the only part of the newscast not focused on the pandemic is the weathercast.

Still, at many television stations, the broadcast meteorologist is the only scientist in the building. While they probably aren’t experts on viruses, the weather team is usually more adept at explaining complicated systems in a calm, deliberate manner.

Here are five ways broadcast meteorologists can add to the Coronavirus coverage.

Demonstrate expertise

During a recent quiet weather day, Ed Piotrowski, Chief Meteorologist at WPDE in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, explained “the curve.” Limiting potential exposure to the virus should keep the health care system from becoming overloaded.

Ed Piotrowski WPDE

Be the Calm in the Storm

Derek Kinkade, a meteorologist on WTVM in Columbus, Georgia, has always been interested in pandemics and viruses. He used Facebook Live to have a casual conversation with his viewers about Coronavirus. “Sticking with information from my pulmonologist friend (who I vetted all facts through) and official sources like the WHO and CDC,” he explained.

Derek Kinkade WTVM

Explore the weather connection

A new study conducted in China explains how “high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19.” This requires some in-depth research but could be an engaging report on-air and online.

Coronavirus Research Map

Gentle reminders

Some broadcast meteorologists might not feel comfortable talking in-depth about Coronavirus. They can still use their platforms to remind followers of some necessary preventive steps. Here’s a recent Instagram post from Shel Winkley, Chief Meteorologist at KBTX in Bryan-College Station, Texas.

Shel Winkley KBTX

Just the facts

Finally, broadcast meteorologists need to be mindful of the underlying tension people are feeling right now. If there are no severe storms expected, keep the daily weather coverage light but not frivolous.

With all the information and misinformation swirling around the virus, viewers can become overloaded. This is not the time for in-depth weather explanations. Give viewers what they want and need to know. Nothing more.
 


Tim Heller is an AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, Talent Coach, and Weather Content Consultant. He helps local TV stations connect with their community through essential weather information.
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