Local news broadcasts often present us with some truly surprising views of humanity. We've seen more than our share of both nearly unbelievable live events and fantastic flubs, and how those who have to handle these things almost always come through with their professionalism intact manages to amaze. Such could be said for a news crew in North Carolina, who recently proved their dedication to their jobs by broadcasting through a tornado, even though they had to flee the studio.
It's not quite the first day of spring just yet, but many parts of the country are already seeing some of the dangerous storms which tend to come yearly with the warmer season. For a large portion of the country, this basically means that it's now tornado season, and while it's never fun at any rate, I can only imagine that it's even less enjoyable when you have to try to wait out a storm not just while at work, but when you're actively trying to broadcast the news.
Early on Thursday evening, March 18, anchors Katie Nordeen, Neill McNeill, and Chief Meteorologist Van Denton of Fox 8 WGHP in High Point, North Carolina were in the middle of a broadcast when they had to leave their studio and take refuge in an interior room of the building as a tornado swept over the area. Take a look at the fascinating video:
No. No. NO. Even though it's very clear that everyone who was involved in being on-air kept their cool, it's also obvious that there was real tension in the studio. While we don't hear anything that sounds like an extreme weather situation in the video, the creepiest sound to me was shortly after the power came back on and they all decided they had to leave the studio where they shoot for increased safety. What can I say? The "click" of high heels speeding along on the floor really gets to me in the worst way.
As you can hear, though, Denton, McNeill, and Nordeen kept working through the tornado, letting viewers know what they were experiencing and also making sure to keep them updated on the movement of the storm in general, for the safety of those watching at home. While situations like this have come up from time to time during news broadcasts, McNeill, for one, didn't hesitate in saying that this was a first for him, noting:
Yeah, Van, in my 37 years working at FOX8, I have never experienced anything like that. I've never heard the roof rattle like that and we have never had to actually leave the studio in a broadcast like we just did. So, yeah, this is serious.
I know that journalists, especially ones who train in broadcast news, are given some instruction on how to handle tense situations, but I still marvel at their typical easy-going responses during instances when most of us would be running or otherwise doing a lot of cursing and screaming.
They managed their personal safety well (no one was injured), but still got the word out to viewers, who also needed to know the state of the storm and where the tornado would be headed next. Truly, all involved should be commended for staying calm and not having any on-mic slip ups. Not a single person could be heard vomiting or suddenly voiding their bowels out of fear, so, bravo team!