Hearst To Launch ‘Forecasting Our Future’ Project On Weather, Climate

A new “multi-pronged” reporting initiative will debut early next year, focusing on climate and weather’s impact on business, health, household finances and lifestyle, says Barb Maushard, Hearst SVP of news.

Hearst Television is expanding its focus on weather and climate coverage with a new “Forecasting Our Future” initiative.

The goal is to help educate communities about the local impacts of weather and climate to better prepare them for future weather and climate events. Hearst’s meteorologists around the country will collaborate with national correspondents to generate this content for viewers.

Barbara Maushard

Barbara Maushard, Hearst Television SVP of news, says Hearst has long worked to inform and prepare its communities and markets for weather events, and wants to “double down” on their efforts to better explain weather and climate to viewers and reach those in the community.

“We’re good at preparing them today, but we think we can be better,” she says.

Some of the group’s meteorologists are new to their markets while others have served their markets for decades, she says, but either way they are “eager to play a larger role” in explaining weather and climate to the audience.

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“They know what to expect, not just the forecast, but they really know what to expect,” she says. They can “dig into issues on weather and science and climate” and speak to the impacts of today and what the impacts may be in the future.

One of Hearst’s branded segments is “Get the Facts.”

“When it comes to weather, there’s a lot of facts, and there’s a lot of data,” she says. “We can tell more about weather, we can teach, we can further our relationship.”

Maushard cites coastal erosion, wildfires and hurricanes as some topics that are of interest to viewers in Hearst markets.

“We cover these things all the time, and we report in advance on them,” she says.

For a hurricane, Maushard says, meteorologists are on air for four or five days to provide the before, during and after coverage.

But the group typically has focused on the responsibility of preparing its viewers for a weather event rather than “pastcasting,” she says.

“The pastcast piece of it might be valuable to us” in that it would allow the meteorologists to take “a look back at what has happened and help explain it,” Maushard says.

The “Forecasting Our Future” initiative will examine weather’s impact on business, health, household finances and lifestyle in Hearst markets and will begin after the turn of the year. Newsgathering efforts have already started, she says.

The initiative is intended to be “multi-pronged” in that the educational efforts will extend beyond reporting. Teams from Hearst stations will also develop educational offerings that focus on the impact of local and regional weather events for schools and community organizations.

Stories will come from Hearst’s Washington news bureau, its national investigative and consumer reporting units and local stations. National correspondents Jeff Rossen and Mark Albert will report on the consumer and public policy impacts of weather. Maushard expects a combination of regular stories, group-wide specials and regional specials.

The expectation, she adds, is that there will probably be two in-depth stories per month from stations in addition to national contributions.

Hearst’s local meteorologists have access to a number of forecasting tools and technologies, including live Doppler radars as well as systems that help with modeling, she says.

“We have these incredible experts who are truly knowledgeable in the local markets and regions where they live and work. They are impacted as much as their audience is,” Maushard says.

“Weather is so very specific to that region and that market,” she says. “That’s the biggest advantage that a local television group has, is those experts and those people who can understand not just the science but the impacts on those regions.”


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