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Why Do ‘They’ Ignore South Dakota?

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Water falling from the sky! What is this sorcery?!?
(Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)

Since the end of the Ice-A-Poc-O-Snow-A-Lips I hear a familiar refrain, “Why don’t those mean kids at the national news table pay more attention to us? They are always talking to the so called ‘cool kids’ at the Manhattan table. Sandy won’t even look at us. Who will go with me to prom?”

jealous
Everybody talks about Sandy. Clipart

Every time there is a flyover weather event there are complaints about the evil national media’s lack of coverage, especially in relation to the amount of focus that they give to weather in places like Florida or New York. Well, I am here to answer those rhetorical coffee shop questions. Why? Because I don’t know when to leave well enough alone and not argue with uncle Jim. I know how he gets after a couple of beers but I think I have to keep engaging him…anyways, there are three basic reasons that coverage happens the way it does.

1) Population

2) Nature of the storms

2) Location

There are over 8 million people in New York City. The city. And there are 26 thousand people per square mile. Mitchell, SD has just over 15 thousand in the whole town. There are more people in a square mile of NYC than all of Davidson County.

weather man
Swab those decks matie and let’s take a look at the 7 day forecast. (Credit: Clipart)

So what? Does that make them more special? No, but any weather event there will impact far more people. Hurricane Sandy closed over 1700 schools in New York City. That’s over a million students. That is more than the entire population of South Dakota. More people affected led to more focus.  Florida is similar, when a hurricane is bearing down on Miami that is 5.5 million people in the path of the storm. That’s a lot of people getting rained on. And ultimately that means a lot people that will watch the coverage, that means ratings and that means money.

weather man2
Just a mime with an umbrella. Just because. (Credit: Clipart)

That brings up my second point, the nature of the storms. Hurricanes make for great TV because there is a long buildup. They can talk about them for days and get into position. Newscasters know where and when a storm will hit.  There is more time to plan, more time to hype and more people affected. And all that means the possibility of more viewers, bigger ratings and more money.

Hey look, a tree.

Finally, where the weather event happen is probably the biggest factor. I’ll put it this way: I’m way more interested in the tree that falls in my backyard and stuff that happens near the schools that my kids go to. The major news organizations are headquartered or have major offices on the east coast. New York City, Washington D.C. and Atlanta are where the people that put the news on the air live and work.

camera
Today’s top story: There is a robin on my deck. (Credit: Clipart)

Plus, it is easier and cheaper to cover those stories than to fly to Omaha, drive to Sioux City, confuse it with Sioux Falls and tell a story about snow in the upper Midwest. A storm on the east coast will get more attention because there is more return on the investment. News organizations can reach a bigger group of interested people easier and cheaper.

The real question I ask when I hear the moping around is “Why?” Why do you want this attention? Presumably if we wanted that type of focus we’d live in Georgetown or Brooklyn. What would CNN have told you that you didn’t know? Our local media covers our weather great.

And really, you’re not a farmer in 1894 how much weather information do you really need?

“Between November and April wear a coat the rest of the time wear a jacket. Look out for ice; they are working on the power, call 211 or 511.” There, that is what you need to know, put it in your phone for next time.

Now, let’s get back to discussing the real issues: indoor pools and snow gates.

Everybody was Snowball Fighting

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