Sharing expert group decisions: Examining television meteorologists' tweets of a severe weather forecasting team’s warnings
As climate continues to change, severe weather events continue to increase in both severity and frequency. The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) established storm prediction centers around the country to monitor and produce predictions, warnings, and watches about weather events. However, the NWS relies mostly on local television stations to communicate this information to the public. Although many storm prediction centers have Twitter accounts, residents often turn to local news stations for information on these weather events. In this study we analyzed one year of tweets from a small prediction team as well as tweets from the lead meteorologist twitter accounts from ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC stations. We focused on tweets sent on days that severe weather occurred (N = 17,259). Agenda setting theory served as a lens to examine these results and advance our understanding of weather communication in the digital age. We found that tweets from television meteorologists differed significantly from those of the NWS for clout, analytical thinking, and positive emotional valence. Tweets were also significantly different for authenticity and negative emotional valence, but only when individual stations were compared to the NWS. This paper contributes to small group literature the idea that expert teams, who rely on the media to report their decisions, may have their decisions reported in differing manners based on the motivations of the media.
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