When covering a hurricane live amid the torrential rains and skin-stinging wind, there is one crucial item no TV news crew member should be without: a condom.
A handy latex prophylactic, it turns out, is just the thing for keeping a battery pack dry, as an audio engineer from the Weather Channel learned in the mad media scrum to cover Hurricane Irene this past weekend. The engineer in question was working on the coverage of Mike Seidel, who is profiled in today's New York Times. (You can watch Seidel in action in the video above.)
But aside from stocking up on barrier-style birth control, the extreme-weather beat comes with some key tricks of the trade, as Seidel and his team will attest. A useful list of them follows after the jump below.
• Safety goggles! These will keep the sand out of your eyes
• A towel will also come in handy--so that members of the intrepid video crew can constantly wipe water off of their faces.
• Be prepared to be in action for as much as 15 hours at a time.
• If nature calls, do not expect anything more than a brief bathroom break. ("The last time I asked for 10 minutes for you, they were calling me in three," Seidel's producer told him Saturday.)
• Try "purposely positioning [yourself] away from the protection of the building [where you're reporting] to show the most serious winds."
• At the same time, though, make sure you have three strong men with you to hold the camera down in case the conditions become so intense that it may require three strong men to hold the camera down.
• If you think there's any chance that the deck railing where you're standing might fly away, move to a safer perch. Seidel and his crew did so Saturday shortly before the moment when--yes--the deck railing where they were standing flew away.
• You will need said deck railing to brace yourself when your network requires what Seidel called a "bobble-head" shot, "just so the channel could show he was there."
• Without anything to lean on, if you position yourself with a low center of gravity, like a linebacker, that will reduce the likelihood of your getting blown away.
• And lastly, while this one might sound obvious, do not wade too far into the water, as "some local television reporters did on Saturday," according to the Times, because you will indeed run the risk of being carried out to sea.
You can read more over at the New York Times.
- Mike Seidel