• Content Curation Added to BroadcastMet.com

    I consume a lot of information on the web every day. My Google Reader is jam packed and I try to spend some time going through it every night. There is a lot that I miss, and a lot that I would like to pass on.  It gave me the idea that I should give content curation a try.

    If you are not familiar with the concept, content curation is the process of collecting all sorts of content from all over the internet, and organizing it in one place. Its becoming popular and several start ups are creating websites to help users find, organize and distribute content on the web. I started out last week with paper.li, but have ultimately settled in to scoop.it after I got a beta invite, and have been very happy with the process.

    Let me say right here that I think that I’d never want curated content to take the place of something I create on my own. Broadcastmet.com will always be fed primarily by me, but there is a ton of great stuff out there and thought some curation would be a nice supplement to the site. If you look down the sidebar on the main page, you’ll find a “BroadcastMet News” RSS feed. Clicking on any of those stories will take you to my scoop.it page. There you will find stories on weather, meteorology and media. I also pull in a lot from my Twitter feed, so if you tweet a link to something interesting, chances are I’ll see it and might include it. I hope some of the things I find interesting might interest you as well.

    I think the content on scoop.it is well organized and cleanly displayed. Its also very easy to sort through all the suggested content that comes in through the back side. I pick through what to push to the page, and gives me the option to push to Twitter and Facebook as well. Just in the past few days, I’ve had the chance to read a lot of interesting things that I probably would have otherwise missed.

    So check it out and let me know what you think. If you have a chance to try out some content curation of your own, be sure to pass me along a link.

  • You Can’t Please Every Viewer, But You Still Need To Try

    The weather has been pretty nice here in Vermont lately. Summers are short and we need to soak in all the sun we can before winter returns all too soon. Quiet weather generally means accurate forecasts, which usually means happy viewers, but its not always the case. I got an email from a viewer yesterday who was furious I was standing in the middle of the screen. He said a lot of mean things, but I wrote him back anyway. I hadn’t realized I was hogging the chroma-key, but apparently it was very clear to him.

    These things will happen. They happen to everyone no matter how long you’ve been doing this or how good you think you might be. There are always things we can do better, but sometimes you just need to realize that there are people who are just having a bad day. Here are a couple of suggestions for your first few nasty-grams.

    You take the bad weather with the good – You might get undeserved blame when the weather is bad, but you’ll also get a lot of undeserved credit when the weather is good. Just roll with it. Viewers are usually just giving you a little hard time. Its not a big deal.

    Almost all viewers are great – In my experience 99.9% of all viewers I meet in public are nothing but kind and respectful. I try to give them that same courtesy in return, regardless of where I am or who I’m with. It comes with the territory. Where you’ll usually get complaints is through email, which are easier to consider a tactful response, and send out a prompt reply.

    Angry viewers are usually just frustrated – When viewers get upset over the phone or an email, its usually because they’ve got some financial or personal stake in the weather. People make plans around the weather, and when the weather doesn’t go the way it was supposed to, people loose time and money. Listen to them and be polite, even if you don’t feel like you are getting the same in return. I’ve found that you can settle down most people and reason with them, but others will refuse to come around. If you get to a point where you are just getting berated, just thank them for the feedback and move on. Always remember that its not personal.

    Viewers are just neighbors whose names you don’t know. They see you every night and listen to what you say. When when they get the chance to meet you in public, you both should walk away with a positive experience. Without viewers, we’d just be talking to ourselves, and that would be kind of weird.

    Have you ever had any crazy encounters with your viewers?

  • You Have The Power

    A lot has changed since I started working in 1999. We had the 6 and 11pm and the morning news, and that was pretty much it. We thought we were busy. Twelve years later, we’re adding more and more buckets to fill, and the need for content grows and grows. It started with a weather phone and a little morning radio. Then we got a website and a 24-hour weather channel on our secondary HD station. Then came social media and mobile, and people were getting their forecasts on Facebook, Twitter and their iPhones. Some stations are blogging and podcasting and doing live web chats. People still watch the local news, its just that everyone is a lot more connected than they used to be, and as a result, there is always a demand for weather information.

    Today, you don’t even need to work for a local television station to broadcast weather content. There are some great sites from high school students who are very passionate about the weather going on around them. Granted, you aren’t getting paid for the work that you do, but if you have the energy and the know-how, its a great way to learn the ropes and get yourself out there. I encourage all of my students to sign up for Twitter accounts and become part of the weather dialog. Using Twitter, not only can they create great content, and pass along great content, they can also make meaningful connections with broadcast meteorologists working in the field.

    If you are in high school or college and interested in broadcast meteorology, I’d have to say that this recent shift in content demand is good news for you. The mets that are working now are as busy as ever, and some stations are hiring extra help to fill any empty time shifts and provide backup for all that extra data that needs to get pushed here and there.

    One word of warning, if you choose to put yourself out there, you need to be professional. Your weather Twitter feed can’t become a profanity-laced rant when your favorite teams loses. You are your reputation, and it can go both ways. Enjoy what you do and have fun with it, and be sure to follow me @WCAX_Dan.