Controlling Nature: Weathercasts on Local Television News

Doherty, Richard; Barnhurst, KevinG.
April 2009
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media;Apr2009, Vol. 53 Issue 2, p211
Academic Journal
Since discovering the shrinking politician sound-bite, researchers have shown that TV news grew more journalist-centered since the 1960s. To explore how far journalistic authority extends, this study turns to the weather. It examines local coverage weekday mornings on three local stations before a national convention. Close qualitative reading, supplemented by content coding, compares weather rhetoric, tone, and style during segments. Weathercasters raise concerns during weather reports, which they soften during banter. Most surprising is their rhetorical claim to control nature. They personify weather, but ignore the audience. Accuracy in forecasts relates to the visual style and ratings of the station.


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