NBCU Academy 101
TODAY Show co-host and meteorologist Al Roker breaks down how he and his producers at the Climate Unit approach weather reporting. In our latest NBCU Academy 101, you can follow along as Al Roker and his team provide data presentation tips.
“Weather forecasts are an essential part of the news business,” Roker said. “On any given day, the top weather story could also be the story that is directly impacting the highest number of people who are watching the news.”
Roker also explained how aspiring weather reporters can go beyond just a recitation of temperature reads and provide more meaningful information to viewers at home, especially in the age of weather apps and audio assistants.
“Anyone can get these same forecasts and alerts on their phone, but my hope is to give you the bigger picture,” Roker said. “We’re going beyond the basic forecast and telling our audience why the weather on a given day is remarkable, while also making the connection between extreme events and our changing climate.”
Al Roker’s Tips for Aspiring Weather Reporters
- Prioritize the timing of weather. What time will it rain? When is the hurricane predicted to make landfall?
- Focus on the impact of the weather story. Weather reporting involves news you can use. Will the rainfall cause flooding, causing danger to your commute? Will the hurricane require mandatory evacuations? When watching weather stories, people just want to know “How will this impact me?”
- Get creative with storytelling. “You’re not an app on a phone or a computer. People want to get their weather from people. People want to connect with storytellers, so use your personality when it’s appropriate,” Roker said. “Even when it’s 72 degrees and sunny around the country, we can find something to talk about that people will find interesting.”
Kathryn Prociv, Brian Van Aken, Don Tsouhnikas and Erin McGarry of the NBC News Climate Unit contributed to this report.