Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dolly Llama's

The South Texas Coast just experienced the first Hurricane of the 2008 season. A Category-2 storm, Hurricane Dolly came ashore near Brownsville on Wednesday, with triple-digit winds and a 6-foot storm surge, and lots and lots of rain.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has declared 14-counties as disaster areas, and portions of Northern Mexico are also dealing with the aftermath.

Don’t misunderstand, this was a storm to be reckoned with, but it paled in comparison to Katrina and Hugo, which devastated the Gulf Coast a few years ago. Still, if you watched any of the news coverage on TV for past few days, you’d have thought Dolly was the harbinger of the Apocalypse.

What is the deal with these TV news correspondents reporting the hurricane’s progress on-location---why must they place themselves in the teeth of the storm to do their job?
Does that help their credibility one iota?

If you see some soggy spokesman on camera, do you pay closer attention him or her, because they’re on the scene… or do you think—this dodo doesn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain, what else about him is wacked?

I’m looking at these guys, and they’re standing there in the glare of the spotlight, wind whipping the rain into their faces, blinded, barely able to stand up.
Are these people showing good judgment?
Would you trust a news reporter who couldn’t get out of the way of a trainwreck?

I know, I know, there are some in the TV viewing audience with a morbid sense of curiousity--even hopeful--that a gust of wind or a mighty wave will knock the reporter to his or her knees, or even into the crashing surf behind them. These people also like to watch NASCAR, hoping for a spectacular crash.

While the images we’ve seen of Hurricane Dolly’s wrath have been interesting, I wonder if the TV network’s used less risk-averse folk to put out there to gather the video and file the reports—with rain flying sideways across the camera’s field of view.

In Central America there is the Llama: an animal that is so curious about the world around it, they sometimes get into trouble. "Llama" is also used as a denigrating term to describe newbies in the computer world.

I would rather take my cues from someone with enough sense to hunker down for a storm—not parade around in the wind and rain.

Maybe we should call those reporters “Dolly Llamas.”

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