Monday, October 29, 2012

Watch out for the over-hype


I am of two minds while watching Hurricane Sandy (aka “Frankenstorm”) go up the East Coast.

First, I am concerned for all in the storm’s path. I have gone through storms and blizzards, so I know this is nothing to fool with. Everyone, please stay safe and comply with public safety directives.

However, I live on the Gulf Coast. We have tropical storms and hurricanes in season and nasty weather year-round. Think oil spills, (not just BP’s recent disaster) windstorms, drought, brushfires that cause fatal accidents and hordes of tourists (Just kidding. I like tourists!) We’ve even had earthquakes in the Gulf of Mexico! Google it if you don’t believe me.

And when disaster strikes the Gulf, what is the national news? Where are the pictures of devastation? What concern is there for the economic effect? What does the rest of the country hear?

Yep. The sound of crickets chirping.

I know why. The storm is gumming up the works in Washington, D.C. and New York City, and area with lots of population and more media than you can count.

So, every editor wants the “big story” on his or her front page. That’s traditional paper and electronic media. Every reporter wants the “big story.” So we have a lot of media folks out there looking for the “big story.”

Folks, the “big stories” are smaller than that. And bigger.  The big story is a parent making sure that his or her child is calm and safe. The big story is a man falling off a ladder while trying to board up a window, barely missing the exterior heat pump. The big story is a clerk at your local (LOCAL!!!) store staying at her/his post while the rest of the family gets ready so others can get ready. How about the FAMILIES of all those responders? Safe bet they live nearby, and have to cope while their family member has to help others.

Those will be the stories the editors don’t want.

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