By Tom Jones, writing for Poynter…
One of the most powerful storms to ever hit the U.S. — 16 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina hit the same part of the country — dramatically overtook the news on Sunday.
Right there in the middle of it was Jim Cantore. You know Cantore. He’s the Weather Channel meteorologist with a cult-like following for going, literally, into the storm. There’s a joke that really isn’t funny: If there’s nasty weather out there, the last person you want to see in your town is Jim Cantore.
And there he was on Sunday.
Wearing a baseball helmet (not a hat, a helmet) and rain gear, Cantore stood on Canal Street in New Orleans, shouldering against a driving rain and winds gusts of over 80 mph. Toppled and mangled garbage dumpsters were strewn around him. Shouting into a microphone, Cantore tried to describe the devastating power of the Category 4 hurricane. He looked like he might get blown down the alley at any second. There were few more haunting images than Cantore standing on a pitch-black street in downtown New Orleans on Sunday night as power was out everywhere around him.
In some ways, you might look at Cantore’s coverage as a cliche and possibly even reckless. And it’s something that all hurricane reporters replicate. We saw dozens of reporters doing it on Sunday.
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