Rain is teeming down in buckets and the wind is blowing leaves and debris all over the place.
My first reaction? I have to get inside – I can’t get my hair wet!
While I might be a Bergen County priss who despises the minute that the humidity level rises to over 70 percent, there is something about all the Hurricane Isabel coverage that makes me want to be a storm-chasing reporter.
Maybe it’s the thrill of the chase. We all know how much I love to chase.
It would be so exciting to stand on a beach as waves are pummeling the shore. The cameras would roll and I’d stand there in my poncho screaming, “Well, as you can see, a huge storm is currently hitting our coast.”
It’s all about the visual effects. Of course being at the site of the storm isn’t actually enabling me to report on the storm more accurately. But come on – a girl on the beach, wet hair decorating her face – that’s a great way to attract male viewers.
The poncho and the wetness wouldn’t be my favorite part of the job, but the travel opportunities do entice me. If I were a broadcaster from New York City, I would have been given a free trip to North Carolina this past weekend. Sure, it wouldn’t have been a great time to tour, but at least I could say, “I went there. For free.”
There’s also my sentimental attachment to my childhood fantasies of becoming a weathergirl. I used to wake up at 6 a.m. on schooldays and watch Jim Cantore and Vivian Brown bring me the “current weather conditions.” Their presence, plus that awesome “Weather Channel music,” made me want to be a meteorology anchor. Then I realized the probability of landing such a job. That’s when I came into the College and declaired journalism instead.
But I guess I shouldn’t be disappointed with my decision. There are downsides of being a weatherperson. More often than not, you’d have to admit you were wrong, and I really loathe doing that. But how often are you allowed to screw up on your job and have people still trust your predictions as if they were spoken from the Goddess of Weather herself?
And while storm-chasing is fun, I know that it’s all about media hype. I usually don’t like the way that TV attempts to bring the news to viewers as “infotainment.” The storm-chasing reporter certainly classifies as that – it’s like one of those reality series, but the weatherperson can never get voted off (that’s a plus for me).
But at least storm-chasing for TV is mostly harmless. A storm can’t vote me off because it doesn’t like the fact that I badmouthed it to other weatherpeople. And I’m not willfully trying to make viewers afraid of anything, because a hurricane in itself is pretty scary.
Despite the chance that I could be blown away with my cameraman, storm-chasing reporting seems like it would be a fun job. I guess I’d just have to get used to being seen with my hair in a big wet mess – even if it is on national television.