Where’s the Common Sense in Disaster Reporting?

I paid a little more attention than normal to Hurricane Ike and its assualt on Texas last weekend. My in-laws, who lost all in the mid-1980s while living on Galveston Island, evacutated their home south of Houston early this time. Obviously, though, the interest in our household was high.

While Indiana has seen more than its share of tornadoes and flooding in recent years, hurricanes offer a unique scenario that I simply don’t understand. Why do these weather and news reporters stand out in the middle of a storm, while telling everyone else they should have already evacuated and they have only themselves to blame if they didn’t heed the local leaders’ warnings of "certain death" if they stayed?

OK, I can answer my own question: ratings. But it just doesn’t make sense. I fear it’s going to take reporter or camera operator suffering a tragic death to alter this practice. These natural disasters wreak enough havoc. Let’s not add another catastrophe to the list.