By Eric Santiago
The Stony Brook News has joined with students in Stony Brook University’s Meteorology Club to strengthen the newscast’s weather forecasts, and by all accounts, the alliance is working.
Students in the club who have volunteered have each been matched with a Stony Brook News weather anchor to help produce a weekly weather segment.
According to Dahlia Ibrahim, the managing editor of the Stony Brook News, previously the show relied on second-hand sources like Weather.com for its forecasts. As a result, the weather anchors couldn’t offer any real meteorological explanations.
“That’s not what you see when you turn on the morning news,” said Ibrahim.
Now, the meteorology students have remedied the problem and helped make the weather segments more robust.
“Our audience will know why we had that rain, why those clouds are coming in– if they’re coming in from Canada or the south,” explained Ibrahim. “We sound so professional and we’re giving context instead of giving a rather bland and backless report.”
But this adds more than just a factual component to the Stony Brook News’ weather segment.
“For somebody like me who speaks English as a second language, the information provided gave me the confidence to stand in front of the camera and improvise,” said Brenda Blanco, a junior journalism major who was one of first weather anchors this season.
“I knew I had plenty of great, and intelligent facts to share,” Blanco said.
The partnership began taking shape last April when Charles Argento, the vice president of the club, contacted Associate Professor Jonathan Sanders, who teaches JRN 371, the class that produces the Stony Brook News show. Argento’s dream is be a weatherman on national television, but despite studying meteorology, he discovered that there weren’t any courses at the University on how to actually produce a weather forecast. Sanders saw this as an opportunity to bolster the Stony Brook news programs, as well as give students like Argento a chance at being on camera.
Together, along with Meteorology Club President Michael Colbert, they worked out the arrangement with the weather anchors, and developed a weather segment that’s been added to Stony Brook Newsbreak. However, these segments are entirely produced and reported by the meteorology students. Argento was one of the first students to anchor one of these segments.
“My dream is coming to life,” said Argento. “I feel like it was meant to be.”
The meteorology students are not on their own. Sanders and Technical Manager Philip Altiere have been holding weekly sessions to teach them on-air presentation, as well as the software the Stony Brook News uses to generate its weather graphics.
“I think the people at SOMAS need to be able to explain large phenomena to people and I want to help them do that,” said Sanders.
In the future, Sanders and the meteorology students hope to eventually create a cross-listed course that allows meteorology students to take at least part of JRN 371, which would create an even more cohesive program.
“We’re only in the beginning,” said Sanders. “We’re still learning what we’re learning.”