Public Relations Blog

Mother Nature and the Media

I love the weather.  It is truly a humbling experience when major natural events occur…a time when I realize how little control we have over our environments.  We can always do our best, but in the end there are forces at play that can unseat even the most organized, type-A personalities.

In the next 36 hours a hurricane is scheduled to make an almost direct hit with the New York Metro area, which happens to be where I live and work.  Schools are closed, transit is closed, and every weatherman or woman worth his salt is jumping up and down with glee–their role normally just 90 – 120 seconds every half hour or so, has risen to the top of the food chain in broadcast journalism.

And, being that NY is the #1 media market in the country, everywhere I look the storm has taken over the airwaves.  There are people posted along the coasts of NJ, NY, and CT.  A reporter is standing ankle deep in water in Battery Park, located at the southern tip of Manhattan.  Sam Champion is on camera with serious rolling waves in the Hudson as a backdrop, to illustrate just how stormy it really is.

From a local standpoint, the fact that there is a presidential election coming in just over a week has taken a backseat to what could be the worst natural disaster in this area since 1938.  Nationally, the candidates are a bit out-of-luck as well, because the majority of national reporting comes out of New York.  There are always the individual swing states, but even some of them are distracted awaiting either 2 feet of snow, or getting their canoes ready for when the rivers make canals of local streets.

See Ma, even the President can’t control the weather.

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, there is a scene where a guy gets into a device that literally shows you how insignificant you are in relation to the universe.  The trick in the novel is to keep from having your mind blown in the process.

So to all those storm watchers around the country, and for those of us who live in the path of Sandy…perhaps we will benefit from a reminder that as much as we strive for world domination, sometimes we must batten down the hatches, arm ourselves with flashlights, buy out the bread, milk, and water on store shelves, and hope that when it’s over we can go back to life–minds intact–as we knew it.