Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Side Of The Story

First off, I'm not that upset about this... but I wanted to share my side of the story before it hits the newspaper.

Last night, after staying on the air for severe weather for an extended amount of time, we went back to regular programming. The tornado warning had not expired for Mississippi County, but we felt the storms were weakening and were not tornadic. We continued to show the map in the corner of the screen and we continued to crawl the information at the bottom of the screen. We even cut-in a few more times between the prime time shows to give some updates.

While the Doppler radar showed the storms weakening, I still monitored any Storm Spotter reports, in case a funnel cloud was reported. No reports were coming in.

Between the cut-ins, a reporter from the local Blytheville newspaper called the Region 8 Storm Center. She said that there was rotation over Gosnell and Division Street. Being that she named a specific street, I asked if there was damage. She said no, but law enforcement saw rotation over these areas.

She was upset that we were not on-air, but the data did not backup her reports. I'm sorry, but we get bogus reports all of the time, even from journalists! To our knowledge, we did not have any "trained" spotters seeing rotation.

I gave her my direct line to the Storm Center and to my office. I told her to immediately call me, if damage was reported. I did not want the damage reports to pass along to the newsroom for video purposes! I wanted the information to validate a tornado and I would go on air and warn people! Apparently she misunderstood me when I asked about damage.

For the record, a tornado was NOT reported in Mississippi County according to the NWS. No major damage was reported either. There was only some minor damage to some power lines and small trees. This was likely caused by the gust front.

Anywho, apparently there is going to be an article in the newspaper about KAIT, our coverage, and me. I don't know when it will be printed, but I wanted to tell my side of the story on my blog. From what I understand, the reporter misunderstood our conversation.

The reporter with the newspaper in Blytheville also has a blog and she ripped me apart pretty good. You can click here to read it for yourself.

If the rumor is true, I may get to see my first "negative" newspaper article. I'm not sure how I will get a copy of it though...

Have a great night!

PS- I was not at work tonight because we still have family in town. I was suppose to be off work last night, but the weather got bad!

My brother and sister-in-law (and their 3 girls) leave tomorrow morning. He leaves for Iraq in two weeks. We have really had a great time visiting. It would have been nice to have good weather though! Please keep all of them in your prayers.


Anonymous said...

I think you guys do a great job.

Anonymous said...

I SECOND THE VOTE!! Corning Resident

Wander said...

I read her entry, and I find it appalling and reeks of a childish temper tantrum. Shame on her for not being able to back up her claims.
Don't let it get to you Ryan, you and your team do a fabulous job of keeping us informed.

Anonymous said...

Grrrrrrrrr, maybe if that gal chided her city officials for lack of matainence on thier city sirens productivity, the true blame for her stress issue would be laid at correct door.
I happen to believe you and your crew do an excellent job on storm reporting...... seems there may be a little (Unity between the ranks) missing here!
However it goes to prove the theory *You cant please ALL the people ALL THE TIME*
Also noticed on her blog, they are afraid of anonymous folks sharing.......that too is their loss....

Anonymous said...

Ryan, just get on with the job that has to be done. You make judgement calls every day, and you will never be able to please everyone. I agree that this woman's blog was childish, and she focused her hostilities toward the wrong people. Perhaps if she is that concerned with severe weather coverage in her area, she should become a meteorologist or a trained storm spotter and learn what conditions warrant scaring the masses.

Johnnie Gambill said...

I posted the following reply to her blog....


Since there has been no comments thus far, I wonder if anyone really reads this blog... However, here's a link to the other side of the story:

It's been my opinion that KAIT provides excellent coverage to areas OUTSIDE of Jonesboro. Let's all remember the extensive coverage they gave to past events that DID NOT involve Craighead county... such as the Marmaduke tornardo (which they covered until it left the viewing area in Tennessee) and the Manila, AR tornado in 1998.

Again, this is MY opinion, just as the blog is HER opinion... Please read both sides and reflect on your experiences to form YOUR opinion.

Thanks for all the great coverage KAIT gives the -entire- region.

Johnnie Gambill

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are upset about this, but don't be. You all do a wonderful job covering the weather and helping us all stay safe.
I think that she needs to take her frustrations out on the people who are suppose to take care of the tornado sirens.

Diane J. said...

I left her a comment with my opinion too, but I wonder if she'll delete them all when she sees what I and your other supporters have posted on her comments.

I reminded her that there's a great difference between rotation and a tornado that's actually touching down, and even a funnel cloud. She had no proof of either, and I think her rant was way overreacting to the situation.

You and the rest of the weather team do a great job and I'm grateful for your time and efforts to keep us informed in severe weather, Ryan.

Thanks, Ryan, and have a good visit with your family.


Diane Jennings

Steven Cole said...

As one who deals with people everyday, I can viably reiterate the notion that you can't be all things to all people. I'm not one to make exchanges on blogs, but I thought I'd point everyone's attention to something unmentioned thus far - the comments posted on the Blytheville gal's blog. Use the link Ryan provided to her blog, read her post, then take a look at the comments her readers have posted (probably all RV fans!). Nonetheless, loud barkers usually bark loudly - simply because they can. Ryan, you are excellent at what you do! Beyond your astute meteorological abilities, you are calm, thorough, and you exemplify all things professional. Keep up the good work!

Ryan said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. I'm a little surprised at the response!

With that said, play fair and be nice. I already had to delete some of the comments.

Have a great day,

Anonymous said...

You can't make everyone happy Ryan!! Was something wrong with her local radio station? Is she attacking them? It's not your job to save the world. Keep up the good work and know you do not have to defend yourself!!! Peace, love, & appletrees.

Click For Editor's Blog said...

Maybe the newspaper's editor will allow everyone's comments...

Anonymous said...

I live in Blytheville, and it seems that Blytheville is always disregarded! It is sad when we have to go to a Memphis station to get forecast about us. I do agree with the blog from the Courier News. If you were in our situation you would want to know to take shelter as well. It is alittle late AFTER there is damage. KAIT8 could have very well been reporting the number of casualities that Blytheville had. In my opinion, it is better to be safe than sorry! And KAIT dropped the ball on this one!!

Tena said...

Hi Guys. I'm the Reporter. Yes, I was upset, because it is not a one time occurence. We repeatedly seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to continuing weather coverage in our specific area.

However...I watch K8's weather coverage for a reason. I beleive they have the best coverage, which is exactly why I wanted to continue watching them. I trust them more than I do some station in Memphis.

For the other issues, my blog is a separate entity from any stories or columns I do. I use it for my personal thoughts. There is not going to be a story on Ryan or KAIT's coverage. However, I will link Ryan's response on this blog to my blog so everyone can see both sides of the issue. I also told Tim Ingram that I will print a response from him on my blog or in the weekly column I write for the paper that appears every Sunday.

The only story that is being printed in the paper is about why our weather sirens continue to fail, sending our law enforcement officers into danger because they are the ones on the street, warning our citizens.

Heidi said...

We'll keep your family in our prayers, Ryan.

I made my thoughts on the other matter known on her blog.

Anonymous said...

I have been and lived all over the US. I have watch a lot of weather forecast in my lifetime, with that said, KAIT 8 is by far the BEST in my book. Ryan Vaughan is a weather machine, weather is his passion. He has a great staff behind him. GREAT JOB CHIEF!

BradT said...

I have to concur with the majority of folks here. While I have never posted a reply here I am a frequent reader and I highly appreciate the work of Ryan, Sarah, and Chris

Anonymous said...

I feel that we are SO fortunate to have you guys at K8 watching out for us during severe weather. I think you go above and beyond in your joint efforts to keep us all safe.

Anonymous said...

Ryan You missed it and you owe your viewing audience to the east of you an appology. Let me say this one again Ryan you got it wrong Your opinion of these storms was not supported by the National Weather service was it? Can you explain why you decided to quit broadcasting the emergency although the National weather service still had several of your viewers still under a WARNING and were getting hit by a very violent damaging storm. The National weather service was dead on you went against it and you were wrong. You read of your data wrong and ignored the national weather service. I was there as a trained spotter and you weren't. The stroms that hit the Blytheville area the other night were probably the worse to hit the community in the last several years. They were small and moved in extremely fast. The rotation was clearly visible and passed directly through town leaving a path of minor damage from the 21st and West Rose street to West Rose and Division. Channel 3 from Memphis got it right and the National Weather Service got it right. You did not. Thank you Channel 3 and the National Weather Service. Next time maybe you should pick up the phone and call someone in the affected area like Channel 3 did. And as for "chiding her city officials for lack of maintence", an unrelated power outage about 4 hours prior to the storms knocked out the signal that sets off the sirens. Apparently our some of our emergency officials were already operating on backup power before the storms hit. Sounds like they did an outstanding job under extreme circumstances.

Ryan said...

"Anonymous IP address 64.233.152from Black Oak"...I'm afraid you are wrong. There were no tornadoes. This was confirmed by the Meterologist-in-Charge, Jim Belles, at the National Weather Service. If you were in Black Oak at the time, we stayed on-air with the storm until it passed you, so I'm not sure why you are upset anyways?

I went back to regular programming because our technology did not indicate a tornado, but we continued to scroll the information on the bottom of the screen from the NWS and we still periodically cut-in.

If you want me to be more technical, the storm was a low-topped storm (13K ft or less) with virtually no lightning, and little (if any) signs of rotation.

Once again, the NWS concluded that there were no tornadoes on Tuesday night... anywhere within the Midsouth.

End of story. There were zero tornadoes on Tuesday night. This is evidence that we made the right call and did not cry wolf.

One last thing... If there was no power, people could not watch us anyways. Right?

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Anonymous (poster of 1200 a.m.)
I think you may have interpreted the findings of the National Weather Service incorrectly. There is a big difference in rotation and tornado, but since you are trained spotter you should know that. I think we need to depend on our VERY WELL TRAINED METEROLOGIST to keep us informed of the weather.

Final Word From NWS
The National Weather Service says that NO tornadoes touched down on Tuesday night. Any damage that occurred was from gusty winds. I know many of you wondered, so I wanted to pass that along.

I can't believe that a "unnamed" TV station in Memphis compared Tuesday night to February 5th during their weather coverage! Some stations like to scare people into watching. We will never scare you into watching... The same station that made this comparison repeatedly said that a tornado was on the ground. We now know, that was not true. Until I get a reliable source, I will say "possible" tornado. I will say that the station was NOT our sister-station, WMC. Dave Brown and WMC handled the situation responsibly.

If you cry wolf too many times, people will quit watching and they quit taking shelter. This is why we went back to regular programming when the storms weakened.

Anonymous said...

One station out of Memphis was on-air from the time it started until it was out of their viewing area.

Anonymous said...

I think you do an outstanding job Ryan!!!! As a resident of Mississippi County, I have to say that we had no electricity for about an hour - during the worst of the storm - so we couldn't have watched you anyway!!!! Anywho, my suggestion to those in Mississippi County is that if KAIT is not covering our storm, TURN THE CHANNEL. I know you really don't want to, but sometimes it IS okay. Someone mentioned listening to the radio station - yeah we tried that too, they did a pretty good job, but you could tell they were a bit nervous during the broadcast.