Real People

Not long ago I wrote about a North Central Texas Council of Governments meeting I attended.  One of the topics was the use of the term “tornado emergency”.  After some valuable discussion between NWS and EMA and media, one of the PIO’s from the Dallas Police Department spoke up.

“I really don’t care what y’all call it, I just want to know what is going to happen.”

I was talking to a TV station webmaster the other day about digital weather strategy.  All too often I think we are too close to our products to make judgements on what our users really want.  This webmaster, smartly, asked his wife what she wants when she looks for weather information.

Her response was “Do I need to dress the kids in a light jacket?, Will it mess up my hair?, Will I need an umbrella at lunch?” She really didn’t care about the barometric pressure, the highs, the lows, only how it was relevant to her day.
She also didn’t care where the information came from, just that she had it.

The last sentence is just as important as the first paragraph.  She will go where the data is most relevant.  Yes, someone wants to hear about the cutoff low over the 4 corners, someone else is interested in the snazzy almanac graphic you put together for the 6:00, but most people (and long time suffers of this blog know my thoughts on saying “people want”) are like to Dallas PIO.

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About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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2 Responses to Real People

  1. Rob Dale says:

    So we keep preaching that, and anyone who takes time to actually study this knows it to be true…

    Then why is it not the motive for every weather outlet (be it TV, Internet, apps, etc.)? What do you think the holdup is?

    • Kevin Selle says:

      Inertia is a powerful force. That said, I do think “some” people expect the standard three minute cast. Some level of fear of change and, hate to say it, some preservation of “we know things you don’t, therefore we are valuable”. Change comes slow! Good question.

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