A Survival Guide for Reporters
Moving to Freezing Cold Markets
A Survival Guide for
Reporters Moving to
Freezing Cold Markets
Moving from sunny Miami Beach to New Haven, Connecticut is more than a culture shock.
If the change of pace doesn’t get you, the windchill factor will. For reporters who are flocking out of J-School to their first “real job,” or the never-had-a-DMA-without-a-beach reporter, a move to snowy ground can be tough.
It turns out, living and working in West Virginia taught me more than just how to snow tube (skiing was a lost cause from the jump). If you want to survive freezing temperatures, icy roads, and snow-covered streets as a reporter, keep this list of must-haves on hand:
1. Snow boots:
Take it from Nelly (circa 2002, you’re welcome), you will need two pair. Have one pair of snow boots available at all times, which means having a warm, dry pair in the vehicle.
Not like the where-to-dinner-after-work boots. All out trudging through snow, or slipping on ice boots. They’re probably not cute, but when you venture into freezing temps, style goes out the window. Buy two pair of warm snow boots.
2. Portable car charger:
Your station may throw some jumper cables in the trunk, but you’ll want to invest in a portable car battery charger. You can typically find one for under $40 on Amazon.
If you’re in a remote area, or would rather not flag down the car barreling toward you on a snow-covered road, this is the device you’ll need to have.
3. Emergency Mylar Blanket:
If your vehicle gets stuck, you run out of gas, or any of the other absolutely possible scenarios that could happen to you on the side of the road, you’ll need to stay warm.
Keep a Mylar blanket in tow. They retain body heat and help you stay warm while you’re waiting on the local tow guy…or your photographer.
The sun sets early in the winter, and if you get a flat or need to set up your gear for a live shot, a flashlight will help.
Covering breaking news or giving a live weather report as snow falls can make your fingers go numb even with gloves. Make sure you pack some hand warmers in your bag, or news car, for immediate relief.
Stuff them in your gloves, ear muffs, boots, where ever they’ll fit to stay warm.
Ever felt skin crack in cold weather? Enough said. Take stock in quality lip balm (the real kind, not the cute stuff).
If you’ve ever sat in gridlocked traffic as an inch of snow falls per hour, you know real hunger. You’re not going anywhere fast, and you’re certainly not risking an unplanned stop.
Have snacks on hand.
8. A List of important numbers:
Your station may have a company it uses for towing, or vehicle collisions, so have that number readily available.
If your station has vehicle maintenance performed by a contracted company, have that number as well. You don’t want to discover
the heater doesn’t work when it’s 28 degrees outside.
9. Common sense:
I’m all for a great story—an active live shot, an emotional interview, or a severe winter weather backdrop—but never put yourself in danger to turn a story.
You don’t get paid enough as a reporter, and there will be plenty more opportunities to turn award-winning packages.
What lessons have you learned from winter perils? Do you keep a must-have device in your bag or car throughout the winter months that makes your job easier or safer?
Connect with me, and leave a comment below.