Winners and Losers, Hurricane Irene Edition

This is the first edition of Winners & Losers and will discuss who won and who lost (in public opinion) during Irene.


Sheldon Dutes of WBAL and Adam May of WJZ: May did a stellar job on the anchor desk at WJZ through their wall-to-wall coverage of the storm and Dutes was on the ground staying cool, calm and collected while outside in Ocean City during the storm.

Twitter: Various state and local agencies, elected officials, reporters, media outlers, et. al all kept people informed via Twitter. There was a great deal of engagement with the Twitter audience  between some of each of these and Twitter users. Additionally, and Inside Charm City both used CoverItLive to keep a live stream of news going. Click here to read the archived one from ICC.


BG&E: BG&E was facing a very large number of outages to get reconnected, and some people will complain no matter what when a utility goes out no matter what the circumstances. As of this writing they have approximately 105,000 outages remaining and they’ve restored 637,000 or so outages since the beginning of the week. That is a remarkable number, but their was a lot of ill will directed their way earlier this week when they seemed to just be throwing out the late Friday night blanket estimate for power being restored. They may want to rethink how they roll that kind of news out in the future and figure out a way to cushion the blow or to come up with a better way of explaining it. Just to clarify, we aren’t faulting them on the rate of actually restoring things, but on how they communicated things. (Be sure to see the update at the bottom of this post.)

WMAR: WMAR thought the inbound hurricane was so important that they cut away to NASCAR just before 7 p.m. Saturday, instead of moving the race to ESPN or a digital subchannel like other stations. Then, when they did actually return to their main channel with storm coverage (a move they breathlessly explained was due to the importance of the story because Ocean City was flooding), they only stuck with it a mere 20 minutes before going back to NASCAR. The coverage itself was down at the bottom of the barrel compared to their other 3 competitors.

Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management: Baltimore City OEM apparently saw how much success other state and local agencies were having on Twitter and decided they had to get on the bandwagon too - but they waited until after Irene had passed over. Their “better late than never” responses to that would have probably worked if somebody hadn’t misspelled Baltimore in their Twitter handle and not corrected it for 1-2 hours worth of tweets.

Tucker Barnes of Fox 5: Barnes, pictured at the top left of this post, of the DC Fox affiliate (WTTG) was standing in water at Ocean City doing a live shot and reported that he was standing in “sea foam.”  The truth - that he was standing in sewage - later came out and the video went viral.


Who do you think won or lost in the eyes of public perception during the hurricane? Please leave a comment letting us know.

UPDATE: I am hearing that the Tucker Barnes story did not involve sewage, despite earlier reports that said it did. Ijust wanted to note it for the record. A fairly quick google search (lots of results for the now-viral video cluttering it up) confirmed this. Baltimore More Or Less has the scoop by way of a press release from Ocean City.


  1. 1

    While that is an absolutely remarkable number to restore in a few days, it never should have happened. If BGE would simply maintain their hardware, far fewer people would likely have lost power.

    Comment by falnfenix — September 1, 2011 @ 8:51 am

  2. 2

    would it be that simple? I'm asking, not presuming to say you're wrong. I don't know.

    Is it a similar situation to the one where there's no reason to buy equipment for snow removal for a storm that only happens every 25 years as opposed to the normal stuff? Or is the issue you bring up something that should be done on a more regular basis. I'm not the subject matter expert on this admittedly. However, I think the fact that O'Malley was being slower to condemn on this compared to Pepco when they had major issues after thunderstorm issues may say something about it. Then again, his moves on that may have been related to his election, just like the Mayor of Baltimore being more strident this time may be tied to her election.

    Comment by insidecharmcity — September 1, 2011 @ 8:59 am

  3. 3

    Well, I have an example.

    The transformer behind my house is surrounded by trees, and last I looked (Sunday morning) there was a tree limb laying on the lines. That limb was left behind when BGE and the City came through last year to trim the trees. My SO tells me last year was the first time in over a decade that anyone has come out to trim the trees, yet he's been asking them to do it for almost that long. The tree is in the easement, and to my knowledge that means the residents are not responsible for it. BGE insists it's the City's responsibility, and City workers insist it's BGE's responsibility, so it never gets done.

    In the past 5 years, my SO's house has lost power twice. Both times, it was due to the trees. This might be anecdotal, but when others make similar complaints in other parts of the City and County, it really makes me wonder just why this maintenance isn't being done.

    Comment by falnfenix — September 1, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  4. 4

    Sheldon Dutes did a great job. I hope to see him on CNN soon

    Comment by sandy jones — September 7, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Connect to ICC

Latest Tweet from @insidecharmcity

RSS & Social Media

Enter your email address to subscribe to our Daily Update:

Delivered by FeedBurner

News Links

MD Bloggers