Subtitle: Would someone please answer the question.
The question of how science-y to be during our weather segments is certainly not new but it feels like it has come up again. After a period of, “Yes, do more science. People love it,” some are hearing, “Our research shows that people don’t want all that science.” The pendulum swings from one extreme to the other but this clock seems to have two pendulums. This of course revives the back and forth discussion that includes, “People in my market love it,” and “Our viewers are not really interested.”
So, consultants, which is it? Seems like a simple A or B answer.
The problem lies in one of the oldest issues for mass media. Finding the lowest common denominator in order to attract the largest possible audience. This leads to broad brushed statements like, “Do more science,” and “Don’t do so much science.”
Time to let us see behind the curtain on this consultants. What is the methodology on this? You can’t keep changing your mind. Demanding use of more active words like “tracking” with no context leads to tweets like:
“…tracking when we could see some sun…”
“…”I’m tracking some light, patchy fog…”
“…already tracking a crash on 70…”
Stick around and monitor this stuff. We actually want to try and get it right but dropping these mandates and leaving station management to interpret is not helping.
We’ve rolled this around more than a few times on WeatherBrains and I’ve invited consultants to come on the show. They won’t.
I suspect the answer to the science-y question is do it some of the time, when it makes sense. But that will be consulted into “science on Monday, Wednesday and every other Thursday in months with an “r” in them,” and entire staffs will be marched into pen A or B. The real answer is here in this short post from some years ago.
So, ask to see the math when the consultant shows up. There is an open invitation to come on WeatherBrains. We’re all pretty scientific, we like to understand why. In fact, I bet research would show that we would really appreciate it.