CNN Severe Weather Center: 10 Inches of What?!?!
By Dave Fox
Round two of “Snowmageddon” is clobbering the Washington, DC, area this morning as blizzard conditions are dumping 10 new inches of snow on top of last weekend’s storm, one of the largest snowfalls ever to hit the city. As is usually the case with major storms, the news media are freaking out.
I live in Seattle, but I grew up near DC, and my mom still lives there. I turned on CNN a little while ago to get the latest, and… hmmm… it got a little creepy.
First of all, anchor Fredricka Whitfield announced it was time for an update on the storm from meteorologist Jacqui Jeras in the “CNN Severe Weather Center.”
I pondered that momentarily. When I think of a severe weather “Center,” I picture a special room, a bunker perhaps, dedicated only to severe weather. Is the CNN Severe Weather Center in a different location from the CNN Everyday Weather Center? Who makes the call to broadcast from there? Does a producer get out of bed in the morning and say, “Hey Jacqui, we’ve got trouble in the nation’s capital! Better get the keys to the Severe Weather Center and open her up!”
When that happens, does the regular weather center crew all head over to the severe weather center? Do they have to drag their cameras and sound gear with them, or does the Severe Weather Center have its own equipment, and a crack team of Severe Weather cameramen and producers?
So CNN went to a live shot of meteorologist Jacqui Jeras in the CNN Severe Weather Center, and Jeras quickly threw it to her colleague, Reynolds Wolf, for a live report from the streets of DC. Wolf did a fine report, and then passed it back to Jeras, which is when I happened to shoot this photograph of my TV screen:
Why is Jeras pointing to Wolf’s crotch? What exactly is she trying to forecast? And how does Wolf feel about the caption below: “Mid-Atlantic Misery?”
A few minutes later, the news turned to national security, which is when news anchor Whitfield announced it was time to go to Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve at the “CNN Security Desk.”
So severe weather gets its own center, but national security only gets a desk. I wonder what they give to entertainment, or health news. A cubicle? A broom closet?
I had work to do, so eventually I wandered away from the television, but I left it on in the background. I was managing to ignore the news, until I heard Whitfield say, “Our own Josh Levs is in his new habitat, the Stimulus Desk.”
The What Desk?!?! I wasn’t sure what might go on at the Stimulus Desk. I didn’t want to know.
But it turns out the Stimulus Desk was not what I was thinking. The Stimulus Desk is where CNN reports on the economic stimulus. I have yet to ascertain where they report on economic news that does not pertain to the stimulus program, but I think it would be cool if Whitfield were to say something like, “For the latest on your money, we now go live to Ali Velshi in the CNN Economy Bathtub.”
I am still working on this story, along with a crew of reporters in the field, so please stand by for the latest. In Seattle, I’m Dave Fox, reporting live from the davethefox.com Severe Blather Fortress.