Tuning Into Transparency

The evening of Friday, August 27 was the first time I put the news on my television in years. I hate televised news. Local, national, all of it. It’s not the people (most of the time) but the method. Watching the news contributes nothing meaningful to my life. It’s more like an unnecessary chore requiring effort. I have to mentally prepare for it. I think it lacks authenticity at the national level (and sometimes local). There are other ways you can stay informed, and you can concentrate your energy and focus on the topics you care about. But on this Friday evening, I decided to put the local news on because when I picked up my little boy from school he asked me if we were evacuating…

So it’s now Thursday night, September 2 and I’m watching a 9pm broadcast. The Cleco spokeswoman, Caitlin Watkins, is going to give an update. I’m VERY INTERESTED in this topic. I want to go home (and love my parents very much at the same time!).


A few minutes into her update, Ms. Watkins starts spitting fact, after fact, after fact, after fact and she kept spitting facts for several seconds. It was an INCREDIBLE report and quite honestly refreshing to hear on a news program. She was confident. She was comfortable. She was calm, clear, and professional. She did an OUTSTANDING job with her update. Universities should use her interview for their mass communication classes. I thought it was THAT good. And some journalists should watch for tips too.

The follow-up (both literally and figuratively) was the police chief Frank Edwards interview on the Tangipahoa nursing home shelter. The story was fresh and some pretty serious concerns about the conditions and care of elders were being proclaimed. I was most impressed with Mr. Edwards’ character and how he channeled his nervousness. You could hear his discomfort, but he remained in control of his response. You could hear his frustration, but it was a faint tone and contained. This was (obviously) not something he wanted to be talking about. His voice had the depth of a seasoned veteran, and I’m pretty sure he never thought he would EVER find himself needing to give an update on or conduct an investigation of elder abuse/death at a nursing home AFTER a category 4 hurricane. Who would want to do that? No one. But Chief Edwards had to and he owned it. He didn’t sugar coat it. He was logical not emotional. He was professional and composed. He knew his opinion wouldn’t be received by all, and he said it anyway. Whether you agree with him or not, genuine and honest opinions/updates are a rarity in the news when the topic is something of this magnitude…local or national. I respect his authenticity. I know exactly where he stands. There were no holes.

While the topics were critical and disturbing, the reporting was refreshing. So, thank you, local leaders for being transparent and keeping me tuned in. Thank you, local reporters and meteorologists, for doing a remarkable job keeping us informed with Hurricane Ida coverage. Y’all kept me tuned in for 7 days…and then tuned right back out when electricity returned to my home. But I know where to find you should I have the need to tune in again.


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