‘It’s crucial to focus on the small towns and rural areas’: Weather Channel reporter on 2020 coverage lessons

Throughout 2020, journalists across the country have shared their best practices for working through the pandemic. As we approach 2021, we’re asking what they learned this year and what they hope to learn in the year to come. 

Name: Tevin Wooten 

Current job: Emmy® award-winning weather reporter and an on-camera meteorologist, The Weather Channel television network

Previous Institute Q&A: ‘Let the storm come to you’: Weather Channel reporter shares tips for natural disaster coverage

What are the main lessons you learned this year from your reporting that you’ll use next year?

Wooten: Our viewers LOVE our world-class storm coverage. In telling stories, I’ve learned so much more about the importance of ensuring we provide a wide breadth of coverage. It’s so easy to focus on the larger cities. But it’s crucial to focus on the small towns and rural areas who don’t always get significant coverage … and I hope to bring more of this into 2021.

How did your work change during the pandemic?

Wooten: Work has changed in several ways. Like many of us, I haven’t seen a majority of my coworkers since February. But another tough part is, I don’t get to interact with fans and viewers when we’re in their town. When I joined The Weather Channel, that was one of my favorite aspects of the job. So it’s been difficult going into towns and not getting that embrace.

What do you hope to learn or cover in the coming year?

Wooten: The 2020 hurricane season has been a crazy ride. In all of our coverage, I’ve heard from so many city leaders and viewers asking how climate change has led to this. Our audience has become markedly more curious about what was once a taboo topic. So I hope to learn more about how climate change and our carbon footprint impacts the day-to-day weather; and on what scale a 2020 hurricane season may happen again. 

How are you taking care of yourself now that you weren’t at the beginning of the pandemic?

Wooten: Prior to COVID, I was always on the go and looking to life’s next adventures. The pandemic has really forced me to live in and enjoy the now. That’s really allowed me to explore me more. Though not in public gyms, I’m still able to workout and run, I’ve started learning guitar and recently adopted a dog, Radar.

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