Hurricane Gloria hit Connecticut when I was a kid. I remember little about it except we didn’t have school that day and a tree fell over in the backyard. Hurricane Bob hit while I was at camp, and we were evacuated to a nearby school overnight. I was thankful to get back to our tents and even the latrine. And Hurricane Floyd hit (as a tropical storm) the first year I was a professional journalist.
A lot has changed since Hurricane Floyd. I was a weekly newspaper editor in 1999 when Floyd tore through the region. I wasn’t out covering the storm in real time. There was no Twitter or Facebook. There was no blog. The newspaper website was updated once a week after those stories hit print. After the storm I ended up at a family’s house because a tree fell and wrecked their cars (total aside: the kids in that family were part of the youth group I counseled nearly a decade later).
How we cover the news, especially weather events, has changed so dramatically since then. We post updates as we get them on a blog or website throughout the storm. We push updates onto social media while asking for our readers to send us photos, videos and news tips and updates. Our deadline is now, not at the end of the day or two days from now. Reporters will file photos from the field and shoot video of what they see.
It also points to how rare it is we get a hurricane in the New York area that there’s been more than a decade since we last had one here. Maybe that explains how news outlets are reacting to it.