Should journalists put themselves in danger to cover natural disasters?
As Hurricane Sandy approached the U.S. East Coast, TV reporters headed outdoors for standups with rising storm surge and violent high winds as a backdrop. Abysmal conditions definitely make for good visuals, but are these standups necessary?
“The reason we’re on beaches and boardwalks is twofold: One is to convey the seriousness and two, because it hits the beach first,” NBC News’ David Verdi told the Washington Post. “That’s the reason we go into war zones and go to special events and places to where we can gain access to places that regular people cannot.”
But others say sending reporters out during dangerous weather undercuts the message that the public should stay off the streets. “Let's not pretend immersing themselves in wind or water, rather than broadcasting images of the scene sans people, has value beyond entertainment,” wrote Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic.
What do you think? Should TV journalists stand outside during severe weather to get a story? Have you ever put yourself in danger to cover a storm?
Photo of Hurricane Sandy CC-licensed on Flickr, courtesy of the EUMETSAT.