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Winter Weather Coverage: Serious Business Behind the Scenes

WHNT News 19 Producer Amanda Redfoot Fielding Constant Newsroom Calls During Winter Weather Coverage.

WHNT News 19 Producer Amanda Redfoot Fielding Constant Newsroom Calls During Winter Weather Coverage.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Trust us. If closures and sloppy road conditions have you in a chronic state of huff and puff – we’re right there with you.

Winter has been a palpable force to be reckoned with this season and it starts to take its toll on everyone.

The team at WHNT News 19 doesn’t have the option of hanging out in the La-Z-Boy just waiting on things to clear up. We have to be here with battle stations manned to bring you the latest information on air, online and on social media.

But we don’t do it because we have to; the extended hours, the standing out in the cold or rain, the spending time away from family who meanwhile are blissfully constructing an eight-foot snowman – we do it for you.

Winter weather coverage from a viewer standpoint can become a little overbearing.

It’s a fact we admit and know all too well, ourselves.

At some point you may transition into a constant eye-roll at the perceived redundancy. How many times can local news teach you how to drive in rain, snow or ice? How many times can you be schooled on the dangers of space heaters? How often do you need to be reluctantly reacquainted with the term, ‘black ice’, you may ask yourself?

Believe it or not, we are here to help you – not to annoy the daylights out of you.

We remind you of these things because we’ve been there – in the trenches, as it were – and we’ve seen it happen time and time again.

While you may think we’re all sipping cocoa waiting on rain to turn to ice or that reporters are busy gathering up only the cheesiest of props imaginable to hold up in their live shots (rain gauges, wind meters and yard sticks dipped in snow just to name a few), there’s actually tons of work going on behind the scenes just to keep the proverbial ship afloat.

Meteorologists working around the clock analyzing the latest models and data; news directors making lodging arrangements to ensure crews don’t get stuck far from the station and preparing to sleep on a cot themselves, if conditions warrant; assignment managers dispatching crews to the areas of most community impact; producers fielding call after call to the newsroom and constantly updating school, church and business closings; web content managers making sure the latest information is right at your fingertips. Not to mention crews banding together to drag out the grill for some impromptu burgers and dogs (and other sundry junk foods), just to keep everyone’s heads above water – or, more accurately, above the slush.

The scenario behind the curtain of “TV magic” is a scene of controlled chaos – and I use the word “controlled” loosely.

And those roads we tell you are too treacherous to drive? Well, it’s our job to get out and drive them for you. Counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s all in an effort to accurately convey the weather story to you, our viewers. And you have to get out there in the thick of it – after all, news doesn’t happen in the newsroom.

You may eye roll, but it won’t stop our indefatigable efforts to take action and keep you informed and safe to the best of our humble abilities.

So what annoys you most about winter weather coverage and local news in general? Is it the campy phrases, the over-precaution, the wittingly alliterative and often maddening segment titles (ex. “Winter Weather Woes”), or shameless attempts to garner viewer/user feedback and engagement like this one?

It’s your turn to let us know. Don’t worry – we’re “winter weather workload” hardened – you can’t hurt our feelings.