Take freezing rain, for example. Tonight in Connecticut, television is reporting an armada of ice will blast our roads before the Monday morning commute, and we sensed the vibe today of neighbors rushing off to the grocery chains to stock up on toilet paper. All news is local, and nothing is more local than weather. Even the kids are excited at the first hint of a real winter storm.
But online? Nada. Weather.com, AccuWeather, and Weather Underground give us general maps and national stories with barely a mention of ice in New England. Punch in a ZIP Code, you get cute graphics of icy rain on Monday, but nothing conveys urgency. The big papers nearby such as NYT report on Republicans debating; the smaller papers rehash weekend feature stories about the Nutcracker.
How can it be that people get so excited about big storms, but the media takes a pass? Maybe this is why blogs in general are now so popular, since the loosened journalism format allows experts in any topic to bring passion and verve and even F bombs to content the big media tend to homogenize.
To be fair, TV weather guys get a little too hyped up over every ounce of fog. Still, we miss weather drama online. At least we have weather.gov, which breaks tomorrow’s storm threat down into a Morse code-like punch: URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE. The text feels like an incoming aircraft advisory. Now we’re talking.