13.2 Adding Space Weather to Your Broadcast

Thursday, 4 August 2005: 4:00 PM
Diplomat Ballroom (Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington D.C.)
Rachel A. Weintraub, NASA, Greenbelt, MD

Broadcast meteorologists represent an influential and logical group to present space weather issues to the general public audience. On January 21st, when the sun spit out an enormous burst of plasma with the force of a billion nuclear bombs traveling at a million miles an hour, it didn't just send an obscure fleet of scientists scrambling. It also pushed the National Weather Service, the power industry, satellite operators, and the FAA to act. Space weather represents the next generation of weather forecasting and is becoming increasingly important as we rely on more and more space-based systems ranging from GPS to satellite TV to cell phones and pagers. Station meteorologists are in a unique position – they can report on science and technology issues, and they have a captive audience that expects to hear the latest in weather advances.

This presentation seeks to lay out a simple plan for starting to report on space weather, keeping in mind the importance of exciting and easy-to-access video products, storytelling strategies, appropriate web resources, and a general plan of attack to entice your news director. Efforts will also be devoted to capitalizing on what news affiliates do so well: connecting with the community through local museums and the station's web site. Meteorologists can be a vanguard in this new field, with all the broadcast resources of NASA and the National Weather Service working for you.

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