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Weathering the Storm

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stephen stirling

on 26 March 2014

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Transcript of Weathering the Storm

The goods
Pretty much anything you could want to know is now available in real-time and in an archived nature. As in many fields, there has never been a better time to be a researcher or data nerd. Focus is far reaching, from current events reporting to forensic meteorology.

Tipsheet is chock full of weather/climate data sources. Find it here: http://bit.ly/NICARwx

Your Presenters
Steve Stirling - data reporter for the Star-Ledger, weather blogger, and general meteorology nerd.

Ian Livingston - infomation lead at the wildly popular Capital Weather Gang, hosted by the Washington Post.

The Dreaded Weather Story
It's a stereotype, but reporters generally don't like doing weather stories.

That's dumb.

Only topic that is both a niche and ubiquitous.Extremely popular, a necessary public service and there's gads and gads of free data out there waiting to be used.
Scrap your idea of the "weather story"
Think beyond "it's snowing" or "it's going to snow." Every weather story is a data story. People want to know the forecast, but crave detail and love fun toys.

Breaking news
Dailies
Enterprise
Recaps
Disasters

Quick Hits and Current Conditions
Through NOAA, local National Weather Service offices, Storm Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center all release tons of real-time information. NWS also has an API
Private weather sites, apps, like Weather Underground and Weather Bug are also great for local conditions.
Check with your state climatologist. Some maintain local weather networks. http://bit.ly/1k7vMHg
Using real-time data
NYC Plow tracker http://on.nyc.gov/1gs8A2b
Weathering the Storm
UK Snow map (right)
Wind maps: http://bit.ly/MZvCDI
All great sources for storm recap data as well.
Storm Recap Examples
Snowfall total maps: http://bit.ly/1bJIZ67
Use data to inform your story: http://wapo.st/1hhRjbx
Thinking Longer Term
Climate data and historical weather data are abundant and can be used for a myriad of enterprise stories.

Think about what people are talking about and how you could apply data to tell a story.

Not everything has to be deadly serious. http://wapo.st/1gDlIAc


Enterprise Weather Projects
First freeze: http://wapo.st/1exkWlM
Sandy Scorecard: http://bit.ly/1hAd0DQ
Super Bowl forecast:http://bit.ly/1gEuMGH
Don't fall into the hype machine
Be a skeptic. If it smells bad, it probably is.

There are plenty of bad sites/pages and meteorologists that hype weather events to get eyes to their work. It's becoming a significant issue: http://bit.ly/1hZBMBQ

Don't sensationalize. It's easy and tempting, but will ultimately erode your audience.


Think beyond "weather coverage"
Questions?
Stephen Stirling
@sstirling
sstirling@starledger.com

Ian Livingston
@islivingston
ian.s.livingston@gmail.com
Tornado history: http://bit.ly/Oey0Y8
Tipsheet: http://bit.ly/NICARwx
Full transcript