As Gran Eileen Bloomberg advised the people of New You are able to Town to leave or stay inside, information systems were delivering their correspondents into the eye of the surprise.
Sandy began out last Thursday as a creating natural disaster in the Ocean that just one of CNN's nine computer designs estimated to turn remaining and hit the U. s. Declares, by Wednesday it became something to look at. Chad Myers, CNN's tornados professional, first described it on air that mid-day, and by Friday it was obvious that it was advancing for the Southern Seaboard. Myers began to move his soldiers, assessing who was available, and where, understanding he would need to soften an military of correspondents to protect the 500-mile spool of the surprise.
Now, CNN has at least 100 workers such as motorists, several correspondents and satellite tv providers at factors all along the Eastern Shore, as well as local online associates in every city in the large hurricane's direction.
"This is our Extremely Dish," Myers informed during a crack from his round-the-clock protection. "We have individuals that will be in the way of this surprise, and individuals will probably get harm."
Said Helen Swenson, senior vp live programming at The Weather Channel: "Whether you’re a news person or meteorologist, you live for this. You live first and foremost to tell people to get people out of harm's way; to be there for them before, during and after the storm; and tell people's real stories. We are typically on a 12 hours on, 12 hours off schedule. A lot of people are sleeping here."
For those out in the field, standing in the driving rain and wind, those hours are even more strenuous. Myers says that the network invested several years in scouting the strongest and highest spots in each city so they could park their trucks in the safest possible places and have access to multiple roadways.
"I can't save your life, but I need to do what I can to make sure you stay safe," he said of his reporters. "I feel personally responsible for them. … I sometimes tell them on the air that they need to leave."
Myers calls the field reporting essential to show people what they should not be doing, while Swenson defended the practice with verve.
"A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say," she offered. "If you didn’t have the pictures, how better could you describe the conditions of the storm? If they’re out there to the point where it’s not safe anymore, we shut down."
That decision, she said, often falls to their reporters in the field.
"Somebody like Jim Cantore and Mike Seidel, they’ve been out in the field 20-plus years; they know when it gets too rough," Swenson said. "They will get inside the satellite truck, park it between buildings. It actually happens a lot. What you don’t see is all the live shots we shut down and all the time that we shut them down to wait out the severity of the storm. We let the crews in the field make [the decision to shut down], and they’re the ones that know what’s best."
Both CNN and Weather Channel banned the use of the term "Frankenstorm" to describe Sandy, hoping to strike a more serious tone in coverage. Sensitive to charges of sounding alarmist, Swenson pitches the network as a hub of passionate people doing their life's work.
"At the end of the day, we consider ourselves at the Weather Channel a public service first," Swenson said. "If anyone thinks that during the storm, when you’re going to have a predicted 12 million people without power -- at that point, we’re lucky if we get ratings. We’re not in it to increase ratings. We have to be there for the people. That’ why we’re out there; that’s why we’re exhausted."