Long-term efforts aren’t supported


This week, storm-ravaged Puerto Rico faced another widespread power outage. A little more than a month ago, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria – one of the most powerful storms to hit the island in modern history.

Following Maria, the entire island of Puerto Rico was without power, there was widespread flooding, extensive damage and a significant lack of resources for recovery. The 2017 hurricane season has been one of the most active with many large, named storms making landfall in the Caribbean and the United States.

And the response was initially unparalleled. Celebrities, public figures, politicians and everyone in between reached out to help those impacted by storms with an outpouring of monetary donations, volunteering on-site and organizing events around the country to gather supplies to donate to the impacted areas.

This response was possible because of continued coverage on major news outlets and social media. In times of disaster people come together, but sometimes that isn’t always the case for people who aren’t directly impacted. This year, this was not the case. Almost everyone showed their support for storm victims in any way that they could, but something else came to light as a result.

It seems that storm relief is not sustained long-term. In today’s business and social climate, it is understanding that news organizations can only cover a story for so long without any new information. But, social media and the internet are new tools for people to connect, engage and support other groups of people that they may not have had access to otherwise.

This can also be a powerful tool for the opposite impact. In order for countries like Puerto Rico to not only rebuild, but repair its infrastructure to reduce the number of power outages, citizens need help. While initially an overwhelming support, much of the world, and media, has moved on to other stories.

California wildfires: Death toll rises to 29


California wildfires have killed at least 29 people and burned more than 191,000 acres of land. Firefighters are still trying to combat the raging flames but have not been able to get the fires under control.

In addition to the 29 deaths, hundreds of people have been reported missing in the Northern California area.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for California and stated to the press that this is one of the biggest wildfires the state of California has endured. The month of October is typically when all the deadliest wildfires have occurred in California.

The next biggest wildfire that has occurred in California was the Griffith Park Fire in 1933, killing 29 people.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been placed on Napa, Sonoma, Solano counties. Residents from these counties have been advised not to return until further notice.

News sources have been keeping the public up to date with new information daily on the rising death tolls and damages caused by these California wildfires. ABC News released a video today showing an overview of the burned acres in Northern California.

News and information at what price?


Past weeks, everybody across the world has been paying attention to Hurricane Irma news. The hurricane that has devastated 10 countries and took the lives of 60 people, has attracted the attention of every news media corporation.

Irma has been covered by all the news shows. But these shows, with an enormous competition, look for formulas to fill their programs with attractive content to steal the audience of the competitors.

That’s all right so far. But the issue is that the fight between news media for getting the most impressive coverage has been sometimes irresponsible.  Scenes of reporters risking their lives have been repeated. In the middle of the hurricane and in the most dangerous areas, when the order of the government was to evacuate, there were many reporters reporting live in the middle of the storm for their channel.


That’s unacceptable because of two reasons. First of all, journalists have to be a role model to viewers. And disobeying safety orders of government, such as evacuating a dangerous area, is not exemplary behavior. People will try to imitate them or just underestimate the situation and risk their lives, too.


The second reason is that audience could view a death live. Fortunately, they didn’t. But it wouldn’t be surprising if that had happened, when we have seen reporters near to the sea with great waves, in the street when lot of objects were flying and they could crash into reporters, or when reporters were tied with ropes to prevent them of blowing away.


Television news can be an entertainment show and behaviors contribute to that show, but we need to think where are the limits of what we do as reporters. If the purpose of news media is to inform, I’m sure there are other safer ways to do the job and show the reality to an audience.

Tropical Storm Nate may hit U.S. Gulf Coast


The United States may still not be off the hook for hurricanes this season.

A tropical cyclone in the northwestern Caribbean Sea has recently been upgraded to a named tropical storm called Nate.  Meteorologists believe the system is likely to become a hurricane in the next three days.  They also predict that it may hit the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday morning.

“Nate is expected to strengthen as it moves over warmer waters on its way to the U.S. coast,” says the National Hurricane Center.  “But at this point, it is too early to specify the timing, location, or magnitude of these impacts.

Nate is currently bringing heavy rainfall to Nicaragua as it is heading towards Cancun. It has triggered flood warnings in these areas, as well as a hurricane watch in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

Right now the tropical storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.  It is expected to take a northwestward path later today and start to move at a faster speed, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The sustained winds are expected to reach 75 mph by Sunday.  Although this is much less than recent hurricanes such as Irma or Maria, forecasters are still warning people to watch out for flash floods and mudslides.  Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, has already addressed the state to discuss preparation for the storm.

After the devastations from hurricanes Irma and Maria, another hurricane clearly is something the United States can do without at this time.

Congress has been debating passing a 15 billion dollar hurricane recovery bill.  However, if Nate ends up being as catastrophic as Sandy was in 2012, American taxpayers may have a lot more to worry about.

Irma slows Florida’s transportation


Hurricane Irma caused around 6.3 million people to evacuate from Florida’s coastal and low-lying areas.

“Lifting the tolls cut millions of residents a break before, during and after what became the largest evacuation in Florida’s history,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott. He lifted the tolls on the Florida Turnpike and other state highways with tolls on Sept. 5 to ease the traffic in order to cause a better flow on the roads.

The result of this hurricane was chaotic, making the highways of Florida unbearable with hours of traffic. As reported by CNN, “Transportation officials said Friday that there were long areas of congestion on segments of I-75 northbound and I-95 northbound.”

There is no surprise that basic necessities like finding gas, water or hotels created more long hours to travel north.  

“We stopped at three places for gasoline. Two places were out,” said Florida resident Carol Lang. The congestion lasted up all the way to I-10 interchange in North Florida.

These stop and gos made Floridians double the time that they had expected.

“The GPS tracker did not change the hours left, which resulted us being on the road for a whole 24 hours,” said Chiara Bruzzi.

There were rest areas throughout the highways that provided food and bathrooms. These rest areas were full, which resulted that some cars and trucks were forced to stay on the sides of the roads.

Puerto Rico desperate for assistance


Hurricane Maria left a disastrous mark on the U.S. territory, leaving 3.4 million American citizens without the essential resources of life: food, water, electricity, communications, transportation and much more.  These residents urgently need assistance.

The U.S. federal government bears a huge responsibility in this crisis.  When a natural disaster strikes the mainland, such as with Hurricane Harvey in Texas, trucks with federal assistance arrive to help with rescue efforts.  Shelter is also provided to those who are left homeless.

However, in Puerto Rico, barely any of this assistance has been provided.

Residents of the island are running out of the meager supplies they had before Maria hit.  Most of these people can learn to live without air conditioning and electricity, however they cannot survive without clean water and food.  To make matters even worse, most of these people had not even fully recovered from the effects of Hurricane Irma that hit just a few weeks prior.

Unlike, individual U.S state governments, the territory’s government cannot provide much help because it is in a deep financial crisis.  Plagued by debt, the government is barely even functioning at all.  The island has no resources and its infrastructure is old and dilapidated.

The capitol city, San Juan, has an international airport that is open, but its flights are very limited.  People in the U.S. mainland who want to offer help are simply unable to.  Most have no way to even get in contact with their relatives on the island.

Things get even worse.  Hospitals are running out of fuel to keep generators running.  When these generators stop running, patients will die.

Some rural areas are cut off because roads are blocked by fallen trees and flooding.  Police across the island are exhausted and overworked.

Lots of water, food, and fuel must be brought immediately in order to keep people alive.  More workers must be brought in to fix power stations and bring back electricity.  Shelters must be created for tens of thousands of people who are homeless.

These are our fellow Americans, they deserve the same support that any state would receive.

Airlines increase prices ahead of Irma


Major airlines gouged ticket prices Tuesday afternoon after Gov. Rick Scott announced Hurricane Irma evacuations.

Airlines such as American, Delta, United and Jet Blue gouged ticket prices up to $1,000 plus after it was announced Florida would start evacuations.

Travelers took to Twitter expressing their outrage with the airlines to complain about the price gouging ahead of the Category 5 storm. CNBC reported people taking screenshot examples of the gouging. Examples included a $1,738 United flight between Miami and Indianapolis and a $2,370 American flight between Miami and Los Angeles. Those and others flooded social media Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bus and train transportation followed suit after the airlines, making it nearly impossible to get out of the state.

Due to the hiked airline, bus and train tickets, thousands headed to the road Wednesday and experienced gas gouging as well; however, in the state of Florida, it is illegal to gouge gas prices during an emergency.

While airlines are not subject to Florida’s price gouging law, many people saw the inflated prices as unethical and dangerous as people were trying to evacuate the area.

In a statement to The Business Insider, most of the major airlines planned to cap prices at $99 per ticket out of Florida, and connecting flights priced at $159, but flight delays and cancellations have left many discouraged.

Hurricane Irma is estimated to make headway on Friday and into the weekend. Mandatory evacuations are in place for those in the South Florida area.

Megachurch pastor finally opens doors


Houston pastor Joel Osteen came under fire earlier this week when he refused to open his church doors to Hurricane Harvey flood victims.

After backlash on social media, Osteen eventually opened his megachurch to serve as a shelter for the public Tuesday.

Millions took to Twitter expressing their anger at Osteen. Many said that the Houston pastor cares more about wealth than welfare and, that if a place of worship is not a shelter, then it is not a place of worship.

After several allegations, Osteen spoke on NBC’s “Today Show” and “CBS This Morning,” stating that the church has always been open as a shelter but faced flooding and water damage.

Osteen has also stated that the city of Houston never asked him to become an official shelter, as there was one four miles from his church. He said his church’s building was intended to be a distribution center.

After major backlash on social media, mainstream media picked up the story with most in agreement with social media. Even though Osteen has clarified that he does not pay attention to social media, various media outlets used Twitter images of people expressing their discontent with the pastor.

Major media outlets such as the Washington Post and Huffington Post have called out the pastor; denouncing Osteen’s church as prosperity gospel and stating that his initial reaction of not opening as a shelter has only reinforced this belief.

As of now the megachurch, which can fit more than 16,000 people, is open as a shelter and will remain open until conditions in Houston improve.

Reporter’s questions upset storm victim


On Aug. 29, after Hurricane Harvey struck in Houston, a woman had an overreaction when she was abruptly interviewed by a reporter who came to her at just the same moment tragedy had occurred.

Apparently it was not a good time to talk. According to the woman, what else could happen on top of living the worst tragedy of her life?  Being interviewed by a reporter to give a public statement of something I do not even want to recall, was “the cherry on top the cake.”

Perhaps the journalist wasn’t aware of the woman’s mood ahead of time. Maybe she should have considered a different approach, offering some help, asking the woman if she was feeling okay. It seems the reporter was surprised and consequently this made her nervous. Every time the woman got upset, the reporter would reply “I am sorry.”

Harvey: Social media have driven relief


Hurricane Harvey: a true American tragedy. This damage has not been seen in the United States since Hurricane Katrina, which left the city of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana battered. Taking years to rebuild, the city of Houston will now face a similar fate.

But one thing in particular monumentally separates these two disasters – the use of social media as a mass media news, reporting and fundraising tool. Through social media, we have been able to get up-to-date recounts of Harvey, including from residents trapped inside their homes as a result of the flooding.

Following a disaster, a few major things are needed. Those include basic supplies such as food and water, first responders and volunteers to help people who may be trapped and clear debris, and monetary donations. More money means more help.

For many, hearing about natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Harvey can be heartbreaking. But, until recently, people have not always had access to up-to-date information or ways to help other than what was broadcast on TV and radio. Today, that is no longer the case.

A-list celebrities such as Kevin Hart, the Kardashian family, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus and Leonardo Di’Caprio, have pledged millions of dollars to aid in the relief of those affected by Hurricane Harvey’s damage.

And how was this money raised? It all began when comedian Kevin Hart posted a video to social media challenging other celebrities and public figures to donate a minimum of $25,000. Since that video, similar videos of celebrities pledging larger and larger amounts have gone viral. On every news station, website or social media platform, you will find another donation in the thousands, even millions of dollars.

This is something that was not parallel to the response of Hurricane Katrina. As a result of these famous donations, people all over the country have been encouraged to help in any way they can – being able to give donations to organizations like the Red Cross right from their cellphones.

The response to Harvey shows the true power and reach of social media. Today, in times of disaster, everyone can come together and help in any way possible, regardless of where they are located. In a setting as casual as a social media feed, seeing any and everyone join a movement influences and encourages people to do the same.

Media coverage of Harvey uneven


For the past few days, Hurricane Harvey has made its way over Texas and Louisiana, wreaking havoc in its path. The storm has been moving unusually slow in comparison to other hurricanes of the past, which has led to extensive flooding in Houston and other areas as the storm continues to develop. The way news organizations are covering the storm has been very interesting to study as a broadcast journalism student.

Organizations like The New York Times and CNN have done a great job updating online readers with content, including storm updates, footage, and personal stories of tragedy and heroism. While this is to be expected, it has been a great reflection of classroom conversations about media and content delivery.

There has been some public backlash to the intrusiveness of reporters, particularly in these disaster stories. Shoving a microphone into a grieving victim’s face can often be seen as overly aggressive, particularly in the aftermath of this chaos. While this behavior is a direct result of consumer demand, the ethics of doing so affect each reporter differently. Some reporters have taken a softer approach, offering aid to victims while also gathering their story, which has been very interesting.

One of my friends at UM is from Houston and he made an interesting point to me at dinner the other night. He was upset that news organizations, specifically on the broadcast side, haven’t done any stories about the recovery process. Personally, I think that the coverage up until this point has been about tracking the storm and the devastation, because the storm is still developing. Once the weather clears and the water begins to recede is when the recovery effort can truly begin, and that’s when those types of stories will be possible for news organizations to cover. Until then, the outlook for thousands appears bleak, and so do the stories.

A huge part of Antarctica is melting


According to CNN, Antarctica has been experiencing unusual weather, which causes scientists questioning the icy continent and it existence in the near future.

On the west side of the icy continent called West Antarctic Ice sheet, scientists have found a 300,000-square mile portion of its perimeter melting.

“A melt of this magnitude is relatively rare in Antarctica,” said Julien Nicolas, one of the paper’s authors at the Ohio State University Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. “There have been about three or four events of this size in the last 40 years.”

This is problematic, if the melted slush and water refreezes it can leak into cracks and damage the inner structure of the ice.

“When it comes to the disintegration of the ice shelves, they are like corks in a bottle,” said Dr. David Bromwich, another author of the paper and a professor at the Ohio State. “They are holding back the contents of the bottle, in this case the ice sheet, and you take the cork away and everything flows out to the ocean.”

Action must to be taken, if we plan to see dramatically results in the near future, from recycling the basis of bottles, to being cautious while paying close attention to our environment.

“We don’t know the time scale of this,” he said. “There was one modeling study that showed quite dramatic changes on the scale of a few hundred years, and another scenario would be quite a slow change. But a foot of sea rise, or two feet, in the order of 100 years would be alarming.”

We live in a selfish generation, where adults, including millennials, have taken earth for granted. Eventually, if we the people, allow ourselves to continue to treat the earth as trash, it will bite us back.

Karma …

Once the ice is in the ocean, Bromwich says, it could cause sea levels to rise dramatically and rapidly.

“Rapidly,” of course, means something completely different on a geological time scale.

All about hurricanes this week


The South Florida region saw the passing of two hurricanes this past week.

Matthew was the name of one, letdown was the name of the other.

Hurricane Matthew did most of its damage in the Caribbean and along Florida’s eastern coast. The Miami Hurricanes football team lost in a much anticipated match-up to the Florida State Seminoles, 20-19. Now that the storms have passed, let’s take a look at how the Miami Herald covered the events.

First up, Mr. Matthew.

The real-life hurricanes claimed the lives of six people in the state of Florida, as described in this informative article. I thought that this was a good post because it included information that probably wasn’t reported on heavily in our area, such as the storm-related deaths (which occurred outside of South Florida); the effects of the storm up the coast in Brevard, Flagler, and Volusia counties; the water levels of Lake Ockeechobee; and why state law enforcement didn’t provide security around Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday.

This article reported on the progress of FPL restoring power in South Florida. As of Sunday evening, all but 10 customers had their power restored.

Think that because you haven’t heard about Zika recently the problem has gone away? As this article indicates, you may be hearing more about it in the coming weeks.

On to the Hurricanes. Oh, the ‘Canes…

Herald columnist Greg Cote penned a gem in his post-game story. Great coverage coming from Cote.

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was cooking in his return home. The Miami native caught fire in the second half, finishing with 209 total yards. Elliot Lapin chronicled the hometown feast.

Not only did he throw a game-changing interception, but Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya came out of the game with a banged up shoulder. And lost a tooth. Susan Miller Degnan provided the coverage in her article.

The best part of the game was seeing the ‘Canes in those new (old) unis

All in all, the Herald continues with its reliable and interesting reporting.

Hurricane Matthew dominates news


Hurricane Matthew has been getting widespread attention this week in the news media, especially here in South Florida.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-9-55-32-pmThe category 4 hurricane was expected to hit Florida and travel up the coastal United States on Thursday and Friday.

The University of Miami cancelled classes and closed all of its campuses from 5 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday in preparation for whatever Matthew would bring to the Miami-Dade area.

News coverage has been constant, in addition to people posting Facebook updates and tweeting about the storm to make sure people are aware and prepared for the potential impact.

Posts range from tracking the storm’s path to telling people to stock up on certain supplies in case of power outages.

Most of the coverage is extremely serious since the storm killed more than 100 people in Haiti and forced nearly three million people in the United States to evacuate their areas. 

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-9-52-56-pmHowever, some people looked for the humor in the grave situation, posting memes and other comical photos related to Hurricane Matthew.

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith stressed the storm’s life-threatening potential bluntly during a broadcast on Thursday.

“This moves 20 miles to the west, you and everyone you know are dead. All of you…and your kids die, too,” Shepard said.

A short video clip of Shepard’s broadcast went viral, with people surprised at the his less than poised reaction to the storm.

Students neglect danger and party


Windows are boarded up, families have fled their homes and the entire nation is glued to television sets, smart phones and computers to stay updated on the latest news of Hurricane Matthew.

hurricane-matthewThe United States hasn’t been hit by such a strong, dangerous hurricane since Sandy in 2012, so inevitably concern is growing throughout the nation, even in areas not directly impacted by the storm.

Many news stories have warned citizens, especially South Floridians, of the danger of their apathetic attitude. A category 4 hurricane seems obviously threatening to most, but South Florida is frequently plagued by tropical storms, complete with high winds and immense flooding.

President Obama and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have encouraged Americans living in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to leave their homes, warning that apathy and unwillingness to leave could cost citizens their lives.

However, there is little being said about college students during this time.

Universities along the southeast coast, including University of Miami, the College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina University and University of South Carolina, have closed for the remainder of the week. Schools have encouraged students to evacuate if possible and are taking various precautions to ensure the safety of those who remain on campus.

Many college students are far away from friends and family dealing with a situation that is totally foreign to them. Plenty of students, particularly Midwesterners, have never lived through a hurricane and are utterly unprepared and overwhelmed.

Although the panic and stress this may cause is worrisome, the lack of preparedness and underestimation of the severity of Hurricane Matthew is far more concerning. Classes are canceled, assignments are postponed and students have more free time than ever.

What does that mean? It’s party time.

Media have neglected to cover the added danger that excessive alcohol consumption and drug use will undoubtedly cause during this disaster. Everyone must keep their wits about them during a crisis, and neglecting to do so by binge-drinking and going out in inclement weather may be fatal.

By neglecting to mention this issue and its potentially fatal side effects in the news, media are allowing this attitude to endure, even proliferate. Many young adults are unaware of the severity of a hurricane, so peer pressure and fear of missing out (FOMO, as the kids are calling it these days) are driving students to engage in risky behavior that is unwise even under the safest environmental conditions.

News media should pay more attention to college and university students to remind them of the possible consequences of hurricane parties and discourage them from taking part in unnecessary and life-threatening activities.

Matthew shakes up college football


As Hurricane Matthew, the longest-lived Atlantic major hurricane since Ivan in 2004, moves through the Bahamas and approaches the southeastern United States, evacuations have been ordered and preparations have been made for the possibly devastating impacts of the storm.

Several major college football programs, including the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida Gators, are scheduled to host games this Saturday which may be impacted by the storm. Hurricane Matthew is forecast to move north along Florida’s east coast on Thursday and Friday.

Depending on Matthew’s track and the associated damage, Miami, Florida and South Carolina may be forced to reschedule or even cancel their respective games against Florida State, Louisiana State and Georgia.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-1-00-55-pmAs of Thursday afternoon, no scheduling changes have been made for college football games this Saturday.

However, the impact on preparations for the game cannot be understated.

While most sports media organizations are focusing on the hurricane’s impacts on game scheduling, the most significant effects of Matthew will likely be on transportation and preparation.

The University of Miami has closed its campus on Thursday and Friday, meaning the Hurricanes will be unable to practice before the game. Florida State has delayed its travel plans and will take a bus to Miami on Friday instead of Thursday.

Hurricanes are dangerous and cannot be taken lightly. However, college football games and television deals are valuable and will not be cancelled or postponed unless the safety of fans, players and coaches is threatened.

In this case, the storm will likely be clear of most college football stadiums come Saturday afternoon. With the games almost certain to be played, teams must ensure that the transportation and preparation issues do not negatively impact performance.

Hermine coverage embraces drama


When Hermine, the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005, swept across the southeastern United States last week, news organizations were quick to pounce on the story.

Journalists from all over the country were sent down to Florida to capture the classic hurricane images: waves crashing on coasts, heavy winds blowing palm trees and citizens kayaking through flooded streets.

While the dramatization of hurricanes is nothing new and is usually harmless, journalists must be careful not to misinform the public with exaggerated depictions of severe weather events.
ABC News tweeted a radar image just before Hermine made landfall last Thursday night showing tornado watches and warnings throughout Florida.

The graphic, albeit dramatic, is unclear and makes the viewer think that almost the entire state and the Gulf of Mexico is under siege by tornadoes.

This kind of fear-mongering journalism is unacceptable, especially for a national news organization as reputable as ABC.

ABC is not the only national news outlet that posted a click-bait tweet during a time of crisis. The New York Times tweeted an article just a few hours after Hermine made landfall stating that the increased frequency of hurricanes this season could be related to global warming.screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-10-25-09-am

While sea-level rise due to climate change makes coastal areas more vulnerable to storm surge flooding, scientific studies have not shown any correlation between climate change and the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones.

The New York Times could have waited until after Hermine dissipated to post the article, but instead decided to take advantage of some of the public’s worst fears in order to gain readers.

The purpose of news organizations during states of emergency is to calmly inform people of mortal danger based on scientific fact, not frighten the public with melodramatic stories and images.

Earthquake kills nine in Japan


A 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Japan late Thursday night killing nine people, according to CNN.  Nearly 800 people were injured as well.

The earthquake occurred on the island of Kyushu, one of Japan’s four main islands.

Several buildings were damaged and Japan could face more.

“The buildings that were damaged in the original shock have now been redamaged or reshaken,” said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers on CNN.com. “And all of a sudden you have a cracked building and it wants to fall down with the second shake.”

The earthquake caused more than 44,000 people to evacuate their homes.  Thankfully, it did not produce a tsunami.

Japan is remembered for having its largest earthquake to hit five years ago at a magnitude of 9.0 that killed more than 22,000 people.

Joaquin’s trip up north


Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm, is expected to blow past South Florida and head directly towards North Carolina as well as the entire Northeast coast.

According to Fox News, governors of three states have already declared a state of emergency: Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Since Joaquin will not affect South Florida, is it really necessary to continue so much coverage by our local news outlets?

As a South Florida resident, this news comes as an initial relief. I am used to constantly checking for updates on various tropical storms and hurricanes beginning in August. Residents in the northeast will experience a shift in media over the course of the next few days.

As a northeast native, I am incredibly familiar with news media coverage about blizzards as well as the occasional thunderstorm. When a rare hurricane travels up the East Coast, a sense of panic shocks the population.

The news in the northeast will focus heavily on Joaquin, as well as preventative measures citizens can take to protect themselves. The general unfamiliarity with hurricanes will influence news stations to continuously track Joaquin on all media outlets.

In general, I’ve noticed that news media outlets in South Florida focus more on the logistics of the storm while news media outlines in the northeast focus more on preventative measures citizens should take. As the Hurricane progresses, it’ll be interesting to see if South Florida continues covering Joaquin.

South Florida may get hit with hurricanes more frequently than another other parts of the United States, but that does not mean local reporters should clog local media outlets with constant coverage about Joaquin.

Groundhog Day incident haunts mayor


On Thursday night a story came out about the death of Charlotte, the groundhog at Staten Island Zoo. This particular groundhog is the same one that New York City mayor Bill de Blasio dropped in February of this year at a Groundhog Day event.

Even though this accident with the mayor happened seven months ago, many news source were blatantly suggesting that the groundhog’s death was a direct result of her injury following the mayor’s mistake. These stories also seemed to take the incident very seriously, which at times seemed ironic since it involves the death of a rodent, not a human.

Other stories worked to dismiss this claim by quoting a spokesman for the zoo as saying, “It appears unlikely that the animal’s death is related to the events on Groundhog Day.”

Although this story may seem like a very minor incident among major news events, it is a perfect example of the dangers of drawing unwarranted conclusions.

As journalists, it’s important to never assign blame to anyone involved in a story and to not insinuate any causes or connections that we do not know to be true. It is up to the journalist to present all relevant and accurate information to the audience in an unbiased manor.