Blizzard of 2012: Please, just carry on

My backyard

We live in Minnesota. It snows. Madre Nature often drops copious quantities of snow on us just to remind us what’s what.

What does it all mean? It means snow blowers and snow shovels — or, at least, the arms, legs and backs of their operators — get a workout. It means snowball fights are imminent. It means pitchers and catcher report in 63 days.

But it does not mean we need every local TV news station to give us full-team coverage with a moderately sized army of unfortunate reporters and meteorologists standing in front of different piles of white stuff from across the greater Twin Cities. If anything, this blizzard just gives the meteorologists something relatively interesting to talk about for a change. Let ’em have it — within their regularly scheduled few-minute segment, of course.

Then return us, please, to our regularly scheduled newscast.

23 thoughts on “Blizzard of 2012: Please, just carry on

  1. We should also not cover election days, because sometimes we vote. Nor should we cover murders, because sometimes people get killed. Yes – sometimes it snows in Minnesota. But it’s certainly not often, anymore. It’s not generally a foot of snow. We only average 7 days of 2 inches of snow, we average 0.1 days with an 8 inch snowfall.

    So with all due respect, I couldn’t disagree with you any more. It’s not possible. I’m at 100% disagreement.

      1. I had been meaning to ask what it takes to set Jason DeRusha off in an upcoming WCCO Good Question segment, but i guess I don’t have to anymore.

    1. When you (collectively) are covering elections and murders, you’re telling a short of significance. You’re adding something — generally.

      When you (collectively) are covering the Blizzard of 2012 and the like, it feels more like the 12 days of the year y’all spend at the State Fair — generally. “I snowed a shit-ton. Look! Car in the ditch!” “There’s a shit-ton of people here. Look! Food on a stick!”

      1. 1000 car crashes, at least one fatal. Airport shut down. Schools delayed/closed. Cities spend millions of dollars to fight the snow with plows. Or fail fighting with the plows. I just find it shocking that you don’t find this significant. It’s such an easy shot, “We know it’s snowing. Just look outside. Duh. It’s Minnesota.” But it’s the one thing that affects everyone. I’m no big fan of the “it’s going to snow” coverage – but to argue that the coverage of 10 inches (a record for that particular day) isn’t significant strikes me as silly.

      2. You make a fair point. And to be honest, this post is largely a flippant little rant. For fun. Mostly aimed at the snowstorm equivalent of this sort of thing: That guy’s adding nothing a webcam can’t deliver.

        I started to write more, but I quickly found myself in the land of Arguing for the Sake of Arguing. Doesn’t feel good. So I’ll just leave it at this: Glad I don’t have to drive to the office today!

  2. PM says:


    we are all becoming a bunch of whining wimps…..chicken littles…and the media mirrors this–or does it create this? Hard to say anymore…

  3. PM says:

    Is the media (collectively) so sensitive to criticism because it is worried about its (potential, growing?) irrelevancy?

    just wondering…..

    1. I’m not sure that’s the case, at least for local TV news.

      A new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project leads off with a not-so-new finding: “[L]ocal TV news remains the most popular source for local information in America.”

      Of course, check the very next sentence:

      According to the study, its popularity stems from three major categories: weather, breaking news and traffic.


    2. Stay on topic PM. I have to line up behind Jason on this one. If 10 inches of snow doesn’t alter your life in any major way, then you’re lucky. But there is a huge segment of the population in which it does, and this coverage is aiding them.

      1. Jason DeRusha says:

        I hope I’m not coming across as sensitive! I’m not – I’m more open than most in the media, I think, to media criticism! That’s part of why I read and comment here!

      2. PM says:

        Are you so sure that it aids them? I’m not talking about regular weather reports, or even breaking reports about tornados, etc. But do pictures of weather people on the beaches awaiting the arrival of Sandy, or local (TC) weather people outside in the snow aid them? Information will aid them, but not the entertainment component.

        Look, we all know that the line between entertainment and information is getting increasingly thin, and that the pressure on the bottom line for media companies is encouraging them to do whatever it takes in order to attract and keep viewers. Thus we get Faux News and the War on Christmas (a particularly egregious example). But the use of “storm chasers”, and the sensationalistic hyping of weather phenomena is all a part of the same dynamic–sell, sell, sell. Create personalities in your news people. Hire attractive on air personalities.

        And some people in the media (usually the ones who think of themselves as journalists first, and personalities and “brands” second) are sensitive to this. Frankly, i am glad that they are sensitive–because, sadly, their bosses often are not.

        And Jason–I’m glad you here–and hearing (although I’m not pretending to speak for anyone but myself).

        And Chris–that seems pretty on topic to me. Not that it really matters all that much what you think…. 😉

  4. Erik says:

    I agree with DeRusha.

    At heart though, this is just SRC lefty misanthropes expressing their disapproval of bourgeois social norms.

  5. Julia Stewart says:

    I’m with you, Mr. Keliher (though I gotta say I love watching Mr. DeRusha). I was in MN for the weekend’s coverage (of both kinds), and I was amazed by the media attention — it seemed so un-Minnesotan! Y’all are supposed to persevere through white weather with a heavy dose of understatement. Yet there I was catching the news, and thinking I was back in D.C. where every blip of the weather radar is a fill-in-the-blank-ageddon. (BTW, kudos to MSP for keeping the planes moving Sunday afternoon, I was hugely impressed — my home airports of IAD and DCA would have been shuttered in no time.)

  6. I suppose I go back to the above stats: we average 0.5 days in the Twin Cities of snowfall greater than 8 inches. This was a highly unusual snowstorm.

    I also don’t disagree with much of what PM says, I simply am not bothered by that. Television news is not a charity, it’s a commercial enterprise. If the public didn’t watch weather coverage, we would do less of it. But in a fractured time where people tune into the sliver of media that most reflects their preconceived notions, big weather events are the Super Bowl: the great unifier. People come together to watch their neighbors spin out, get towed, and take cute pictures of their kids in the snow. And I’m fine with that. It happens so rarely – sometimes I think it’s OK to just sit back, have a communal moment, gather ’round the TV, and then go back to regular life 2 days later.

  7. Expatriate says:

    Splendid point from Mr. DeRusha about weather and communal moments.

    On my street (and yours), weather events account for much of what passes for socialization and shared experience these days. A wind-blown oak limb takes out a windshield, a monsoon downpour brings the kids out to splash around with umbrellas and frog-face galoshes, a blizzard convenes neighbors to extract a neighbor’s car from the snowbank. Etc.

    And out we come. We emerge from our homes to behold together whatever this thing is that has happened, hands on hips, saying little more of substance to one another than, “Yep.” While we’re at it, we might talk a little bit about how much your kid grew over the winter, or ask about who poured your new concrete stoop, because they did a pretty good job, or pose the rhetorical question of why we insist on living here.

    Just like Dad did and his dad and his before him. TV weather coverage is simply that, writ large.

    Provincial and a little embarrasing? O yah, you betcha.

    But so long as I breathe Minnesota air, my right index finger will hit the WCCO 830 preset the instant the sirens wind up, and I will listen to Delores from Brooklyn Park explaining that it was raining pretty hard a few minutes ago and they sky got really black but it’s getting a little brighter to the west and the hail was marble-sized, maybe ping-pong ball, and let’s go next to Ron in Shoreview…

    And therefore, Mr. Keliher, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that wall-to-wall team weather-event coverage has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it.

  8. Joe Loveland says:

    I was in Las Vegas for work, so didn’t see much of the coverage. I was too busy skating in front of the Cosmopolitan in 70 degree weather.

    I would like to say, though, that this has been one of the more interesting SRC conversations in a very long time. Keliher, DeRusha, Expat, Werle, Erik, PM, all of yous, take a bow.

    You want to know something truly perverse about me? I could not wait to leave balmy Vegas and fly into the snow storm. With Minnesota in the midst of being so utterly Minnesotan, I scarcely have felt so far from home.

Comments are closed.