Soccer fans in Minnesota were peeved over the weekend when a Twin Cities television station cut away from a championship soccer game to broadcast a tornado warning for a area south of the metroplex.
Apparently, the split-screen action persisted for most of the second half, and irate soccer fans were calling the station and posted about their displeasure on the Fox 9 page on Facebook. (The page today is full of exchanges like this one.) That prompted the on-air response from Blotz featured in the embedded YouTube video.
Considering that the storm was not about to strike the cities themselves, a lot of people watching the championship were upset about the “weather porn,” as a number of soccer blogs have called it. They — rightly — asked whether the station would have minimized a Vikings game or resorted to a simple ticker.
In my mind, the station was right to cut away from the game to broadcast what might have been life-saving information. Was the station right to stick with that heavy-handed coverage for the entire second half of the soccer game? No.
We’re tornado crazy in this country right now, and it makes sense that the staff at Fox 9 would think that that sort of in-depth coverage of a tornado would be good. If another Joplin-sized storm happens again, the TV stations want to be on top of the story. For lack of a better word, storm coverage is the popular meme among news organizations.
But the station should have cut back to the game, chiming in only with needed urgent updates after their first studio broadcast. They also should have minimized the radar screen and put up a ticker, leaving the soccer game to occupy the main portion of the screen.
Journalists of all stripes and all media need to remember that we cater to a large audience. Even if you don’t particularly think what’s on right now is as interesting as what you’ve got to say, there are probably hundreds of people among your audience who think that other thing is the most important thing in the world.
We present news to people with a broad range of interests. We’d do well to remember that, always.
But that’s just my opinion. What do you think the Fox 9 station should have done?