Columnist hits nail on head

The Telegram
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I could not agree more with Brian Jones’s article regarding the constant doomesday weather forecasting on our local news stations. The old axiom in the news business “if it bleeds, it leads” is certainly appropriate. The two evening news broadcasts have about five minutes of actual news but a space of 90 minutes to report it. Hence, they spend a good portion of the remaining time over-dramatizing the weather.

In the meantime, they are providing reinforcement for “the powers that be” at City Hall and Newfoundland Hydro or Nalcor to shirk their responsibilities and thus be held accountable.

Snowclearing this year has been abysmal. Granted we have had an unusual amount of snow and much of it took place over Christmas. However, other essential services people have to work over Christmas. There is absolutely no excuse for the disastrous state that presently exists in this city. (Jan 5/14).

Also, it seems like every time the wind blows more than 75 km or the temperature drops below -10 we are all home freezing in the dark while hydro people are on the radio making all kinds of excuses and telling us how hard they are working. I suggest they devote more resources and capital to infrastructure updates and preventative maintenance.

They also contend that as a result of the booming new home construction taking place in St. John’s there is a much greater demand on their systems. Business 101 will teach you that being pro-active and planning for the future is essential to good management. I guess they must be sitting in their offices with their fingers crossed hoping for a tropical winter.

One final point regarding our evening news broadcast. We get coverage from other cities in this country like Toronto and Edmonton where the weather is as bad if not worse than ours.

However, they usually try to put a positive spin on bad weather. Why are they different? Maybe it’s because their viewers simply do not like their city portrayed in a negative fashion, or maybe it’s because both they and their viewers understand that these broadcasts can be seen or read world wide, and they realize the value that a positive image has on tourism, outside investments, conventions, etc.

Pat White

St. John’s

Geographic location: Toronto, Edmonton

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  • Ed Power
    January 10, 2014 - 04:45

    Some of us remember the good old days when Bob Lewis used to do what Ryan Snodden does with a chalkboard map and piece of chalk. Mind you, back then meteorologists used to read the entrails of slaughtered chickens and cast bones to forecast the weather. Then, you were lucky to be able forecast the next days weather. Today, we can see weather systems or storms forming half-a-world away days in advance, and see how el Nino or variations in the Jet Stream can affect our weather months in advance. Still, the weather as the lead item on the nightly news is certainly more pleasant than the "We start with news from the courts..." refrain that our private broadcaster seems to favour.

  • saelcove
    January 09, 2014 - 14:14

    Treat it as entertainment nothing else

  • Henry
    January 09, 2014 - 12:54

    News? They repeat the weather 3 times within the hour.

  • Rob
    January 09, 2014 - 11:45

    Right on Pat. Just watching the dribble and insignificant b.s. on both CBC and NTV is 90 minutes wasted.

  • Dolf
    January 09, 2014 - 11:10

    Well said. It hits it's pinnacle for me when the CBC Here & Now desk concludes: "Ryan Snodden reporting tonite LIVE, IN THE STUDIO. Really!

  • It is not proper to say the province of Newfoundland and Labrador ever has good weather.
    January 09, 2014 - 09:46

    I have traveled all across Canada and I have come to the conclusion that our province`s weather is as good or better than any of the other provinces of Canada. According to Dr. David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada, the City of St. John`s is the third warmest winter Canadian Capital in Canada, only, Vancouver and Victoria are ahead of us. I have to agree with you Pat White that the other places in Canada put a positive spin on bad weather and they would not have their meteorologists do it any other way, since they know what is good for their economy and their province in general, because that means being able to attract people to their communities. But since the province of Newfoundland and Labrador became part of Canada in 1949, putting a positive spin on anything Newfoundland and Labrador was not to be. Of course Ottawa wanted our natural and human resources to grow Central Canada`s economies to where they are today, a melting pot of Canada. Canada became part of the G7 countries shortly after our province became a Province of Canada, certainly within the first decade and half of Newfoundland and Labrador's resources being place in Ottawa's hands . We all know where the raw natural resources and human resource of Newfoundland and Labrador ended up creating economies, it certainly was not in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and that My Dears was by design. The footprint of where the raw natural resources and our human resource ended up is quite evident, just name the natural resource and it should come immediately to your mind where it ended up and are percolating economies. Our politicians were not attentive to what they were elected to do. They did our province and its people a shocking disservice because they were more attentive to their own personal economies; and those who discovered early on that by agreeing with Ottawa and appointing our raw natural resources to where Ottawa wanted, they themselves were on their way to riches from their good economies.

  • Blueherring
    January 09, 2014 - 08:48

    How many of us let our attitudes, opinions, grids and generation be formed as a control mechanism on the population. Valid journalism and engineering would fix the situation IF. If the average person wasn't so tuned out. Example of tuning out of awareness is needing the media to tell you the weather as pantomime, not written report. A tunnel would end the food monopoly of marine Atlantic. Naw by, let's all prove how tough we are, and how nishy the mainlanders are by following orders. Let's act like public morons and turn our neighbours against us. Get the telegram on the go for some NS hate on their street names and CBC to highlight theft of the sacred screechin. Any hillbillies so easily isolated into their backward little society by a bigot-obsessed media and xenophobic government must at some level be deserving of their fate. I don't actually believe anything I've written here, just an example of the danger of ignorance, and stupid opinion given the same arena as fact-supported opinion, with the reader responsible to discern.

  • Anna
    January 09, 2014 - 07:56

    Well said Pat. I agreed 100% with Brian, we have become so dramatic over a bit of weather. Ryan Snodden has become NL's main character and it is sickening to watch. Our City Council loves hearing about this bad weather as it gives them an excuse for not doing their job. Sidewalks will be forgotten about this year as will all this cold weather will make it impossible for them to plow. I just wish the people at NTV and CBC would read Brian's column and adhere to it.

  • Enos
    January 09, 2014 - 07:30

    Agree 100%. The weather dude on CBC looks like he's auditioning for the lead role in McBeth. Delivery of the news has become far too dramatic! I long for the days when a storm was not a weather event, when a suspect in a crime was not a person of interest. We have become far too 'wordy" in an effort to legitimize basic jobs.