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Local Broadcasters as First Informers During Oklahoma Tornadoes (Local Broadcasters)

Topic: Disaster Relief and Recovery

Local broadcasters saved countless lives with continuous coverage and safety information as tornadoes ravaged Oklahoma. Oklahoma Broadcasters Association President Vance Harrison told Inside Radio that he is "proud to be a broadcaster," as "the experience of the weather forecasters saved countless lives in what will be the single largest tornado in our history." Griffin Communicationís KWTV captured images of the damage via helicopter 15 minutes after the tornado passed, beating rescuers to some areas and spurring the disaster to the top of the national news. "The live pictures and information, almost universally praised by viewers from afar who saw it online and on cable news channels, reminded some of the enduring value of local broadcasters at a time when apps and social networks tend to get more attention," Brian Stelter wrote in the New York Times. Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin thanked broadcasters in her post-storm press conference, saying, "the media has done a superb job over the last couple of days of keeping people informed about the current weather conditions, especially our weathermen and those that have been on the ground driving and calling and tracking the storm itself." Broadcasting & Cableís John Eggerton wrote that she "essentially echoed a point that is made periodically whenever informing the public becomes not just a matter of FCC public interest obligations, but one of life and death."


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