Yesterday Winter Storm Niko rolled through the Northeastern United States. Cities like Boston and New York bared the brunt of the storm, while the Philadelphia area got off much easier. Unfortunately, local Philly meteorologist Cecily Tynan faced a storm of her own. Tynan and her team predicted that the storm would have a bigger impact on the Philadelphia region than it actually did, frustrating viewers who had prepared for harsher conditions.
Clearly the weather factors were out of her control, but many area residents still weren’t happy, and they went online to voice their displeasure. As a seasoned meteorologist, Tynan is no stranger to criticism, but in this instance she took to Facebook to deliver a strong message to these “trolls”:
“Haters gonna hate!
Wow, nothing brings out the social media trolls like a forecast that doesn’t pan out!
From some people calling for me (and all meteorologists) to be fired, to the woman (who’s profile picture shows her holding an infant) posting “and, you’re getting ugly, too!” Yikes.
Ironic: we complain about bullying in schools, while grown adults are acting so ugly from behind their keyboards. Every time I’m tracking a storm, I make it very clear that any small shift can result in a major change in snow amounts. And, anyone watching my live chats this week, heard me say how things could change and there’s always a last minute surprise when it comes to storms (in this case, it was the speed. Moisture outran the cold air.)?
Even with all our advanced technology, forecasting remains, and will always remain, an inexact science. It’s because you are predicting the future. And, as hard as you work, for as many hours, Mother Nature will always have the final say.?I, and all the meteorologists here at 6abc Action News work very hard trying to make the most accurate forecast, at all times. Usually, we get pretty darn close. But, it’s like being a football kicker. You don’t hear much when you score. But, you hear it when you miss! ?
I’ve been forecasting the weather for 25 years now, so I’ve grown a steel skin. Do some of the nasty comments hurt my feelings? Of course. Even with a thick skin, I’m human. But, I feel more sorry for the people who post them. After all, their children may be watching. What kind of example is that?”
Besides the obvious lesson we all learned in elementary school lesson of “treat others the way you want to be treated,” there’s an important message here. The media work day and night to bring you the news, or in this case forecasts, in an accurate and honest way.
Just like the rest of us, journalists are human and are therefore prone to make a mistake or two. Most of the time they’ll get it right and sometimes they’ll miss the mark, but nonetheless they work hard to keep you informed. Even in local markets, delivering the news with those communities scrutinizing your every move is not an easy job, and Tynan deserves a big shout out for reminding us all of this important fact.
So take a moment today to Tweet a quick thank you to @ and other local journalists!
Sydney Brodie is an Associate at Flackable, a national financial public relations and digital marketing agency.