In praise of reporters covering the weather

What’s that saying about the postal carriers?

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Well, journalists are kind of like that, too.

Snowstorms, tropical storms and tornadoes pass through journalists are still writing stories, shooting pictures and publishing our work in the paper, online or on air.

And in fact, those times of year when the rest of the world slows down due to weather is often when we’re the busiest. Bad weather means lots of news.

Could you imagine or turning on the TV in a blizzard and not seeing the anchors in their winter sweaters telling you not to go outside? It would be like walking to the local convenience store for milk and they’re closed.

Like any reporter, I’ve covered my share (and then some!) of foul weather stories. During the big snowstorm right before Christmas, I blogged from my house over the weekend. Then I helped with stories about the aftermath, including disrupted holiday shopping and the effect of road salt on the environment.

I’m thinking about this today as snow keeps falling outside my window. We were only expecting an inch or two, but it’s shaping up to be a lot more than that.

I’m off duty today, so I get to stay safe and warm inside. But my publication has journalists out there covering the snow and the Polar Bear Plunge and whatever else happens today.

All the other media outlets have feet on the street (or boots in the snow), too.  Gus Sentementes of The Baltimore Sun shared a photo on Twitter of himself standing in a portable toilet to stay warm at the Polar Bear Plunge!

In these kind of situations, journalists always try to go to whatever extent possible to get the news without also putting themselves at risk. Sometimes we err on the wrong side and end up getting our cars stuck in the snow or sliding on the ice or swooshing through lakes of rain on the road.

So when you tune into the news tonight, or when you click online today, or when you pick up your paper tomorrow, thank your local journalists!

UPDATE: Check out this video of the Polar Bear Plunge from my colleague Shannon Lee Zirkle. She’s working hard to share these crazy people with the rest of us.

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