Tags: Hurricane Irma | hurricane | irma | tv | reporters | danger

Irma TV Reporting Dangers Spark Debate

Image: Irma TV Reporting Dangers Spark Debate
(Screengrab of Twitter post/@WPLGLocal10)

By    |   Monday, 11 Sep 2017 11:24 AM

The dangers TV reporters face while covering Hurricane Irma have sparked debates on whether network execs were placing ratings above the safety of their journalists.

The weekend certainly saw gripping coverage of Hurricane Irma’s destructive grip on Florida as reporters braved the worst of the storm to deliver hard-hitting news to their viewers.

However, when a video clip of veteran CNN correspondent Bill Weir reporting in lashing winds of the storm went viral on social media, many questioned the priorities of news channels.

"Do you really want a live death on the air? Oh yeah, that would be great ratings," one tweet read, while another wondered why networks felt the need to put their reporters "out there."

CNN’s senior correspondent Brian Stelter, who attempted to defend his colleagues on social media, drew a fair share of criticism after quoting CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo who said "there is a strong argument to be made that standing in a storm is not a smart thing to do. We do it to "chronicle the impact" of the storm, inform evacuees and the rest of the country, "satisfy curiosity."

Twitter users replying to his posts disagreed, stating that it was "stupid" to send journalists out to high risk areas, adding that it was all about improving ratings.

CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann addressed the topic with The New York Times, stating that television was about visual proof and it was the news channel’s duty to persuade viewers that what they are seeing is real.

"If they can see me standing out there getting knocked around, it’ll convince them that they should not do the same thing," he said.

WPBF reporter Whitney Burbank weighed in on the matter, defending her employers.

"My employers are pretty careful if something is unsafe," she told the Times. "They don’t want you to do it. They don’t want you to do a crazy live shot in the middle of a tornado. If it’s too windy to go out, they’re going to say, ‘Don’t do it.’"

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The dangers TV reporters face while covering Hurricane Irma have sparked debates on whether network execs were placing ratings above the safety of their journalists.
hurricane, irma, tv, reporters, danger
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2017-24-11
Monday, 11 Sep 2017 11:24 AM
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