Sunday, August 28, 2005

Katrina Takes the Stage

For once I'm glad NOT to be on hurricane watch. That's saying alot. I'm one of those camera-packing nimrods who loves nothing more than rushing to the coast as a tempest with a title sends everyone else scurrying inland. What a kick! But Katrina has all the markings of 'The Big One' - a swirling monster that could turn the Big Easy into a wreckage-choked cess pool. As always, the media isn't letting the doomsday scenarios stop them from setting up sat truck outposts along the shore, all the better to frame up frothy waves and battered sea-oats behind rain-slickered correspondents.

In a way, I don't blame them. After all, a Category Five storm slamming into a historic, low-lying city will no doubt offer the opportunity for some truly spectacular footage. But at what price?

So far the media has been damn lucky. Despite all the seaside histrionics, no crews have ever been serfiously hurt while covering a hurricane (as far as I know). To date, the biggest victim has been the dignity of all those over-emoting reporters who cling to light poles while surfers and looky-loos loiter in the background. Hopefully, thazt less than lethal trend will continue. The very strength of Katrina should preclude some coverage. After all, transmitter dishes cannot withstand 170 mile per hours winds and sat trucks don't float. But knowing the renegade nature of your average highly-competitive news crew, I'm more than a little worried. Please everyone, stay safe. No shot is worth going home in a box.


Jorge_Guapo said...

So much for my vacation to New Orleans next week. I couldn't be madder!

Andy Aldridge said...

I was watching CNN and they were using a truck they called Hurricane 1. The guy driving, after talking about how strong the winds were, parked, got out and began reporting in 80+ MPH winds. You couldn't hear anything or really see anything. It made me wonder, do reporters do this stuff on their own or is a producer sitting in a control room telling them to get out in it?

Lenslinger said...

I'm not familiar with CNN's Hurricane truck (though it sounds pretty bitchin') but for the most part reporters claw each others' eyes out for a chance to strap themselves to a wind-blown pole. Those of us behind the glass may pretend to be a bit more reticent, but we're usually just as jazzed to be out in it.

Chalk it up to bravado, an over-reliance on technology for personal safety and the always ganwing fear that the guy with the other logo is off somewhere right now, kickin' your ass. News crews go live from the edge of disaster wityh the full knowledge that their bosses are watching it as it happens and comparing it with competitors' efforts just a TV screen over.

Once, after strategically setting up a remote in a hotel covey and going live with a drenched reporter flanked by battered sand dunes while driving sideways rain marched up my nose, the bosses called me on the sat phone...

"Can you have Jenny move around some? The guys over at Channel X are doing a nice walk and talk!"


kalisekj said...

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!