Capstone Project Ideas

As an ex meteorology major who decided to switch paths to journalism and media studies, I want to focus my Capstone project on the weather in some form. Currently I am interning for the semester at News 12 New Jersey in the meteorology department and because of that I think I want to focus on how weather and the media interact. With that I wish to possibly include how the weather media and meteorologists interact with public through the traditional sense and even social media. I’m still trying to flush out the idea completely but for now this is the general direction I’d like to take. Coming from both a media and science background, I feel that it is extremely necessary to be aware of just how large of a tie there is between meteorology and the media in the dispensing of sometimes life saving information to the public.


For me weather has always been a passion. From watching summer storms pop up on the radars to actually waiting for the storms to hit, the passion for weather runs in my veins. When most kids were watching cartoons, I was watching the weather channel. The people I hoped to one day, be were the people who had the ability to save lives, not in the traditional sense, but as unsung heroes whose warnings can help impede a significant loss of lives during severe weather situations. I think that the way that weather can have not only segments and stories devoted to it, but an actual channel is amazing and it shows just how big of an impact it has on the every day life.


I also believe that it is important to inspect how information can vary depending on its intended audience. Who are meteorologists targeting with their information. When a TV meteorologist gives a broadcast clearly it’s meant to target the common person because we cannot assume all people are scientifically inclined. With that the broadcast normally is simple enough to communicate the point without dumbing down too many concepts. With that I think an interesting thing to try to look at is how TV meteorologists interact with the public not only by dispensing weather forecasts but also on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. At my internship I see how the morning meteorologist during the week will post numerous maps, graphics, etc. to his twitter and Facebook in order to better engage the public. He also interacts with his viewers by answering their posts on twitter and Facebook as well.


At this moment I’m having difficulty creating a definite path to navigate with this project and even harder time trying to verbalize and dictate all the ideas swirling in my head. I do however think that it could be beneficial to use my internship connections to get their take on the topic and how they see meteorology in the public sector. The one meteorologist I work with on weekends is also an anchor and reporter so she could definitely be of help when looking at the intersections between the weather and the media.


Google Scholar Articles


  1. “Social Media as a Source of Meteorological Observations”


Keywords: Social Media, Meteorology, observations, weather


This article dealt with how meteorology can make use of social media sites like Facebook and Flickr to serve as a complement to traditional weather observations. The study looked at pictures from Flickr and assessed their reliability. Then created case studies by comparing the position of hail in the atmosphere detected by radar compared to pictures of hail on the ground. This article can relate to my project because it deals with how meteorologists can use social media sites to get a better “view” of what’s actually going on outside rather than just relying on radars and tools of that nature.


  1. “The Broadcast Meteorologist as Station Scientists”


Keywords: meteorology, scientists, broadcasting


This article deals with the standards being set by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) for certified broadcast meteorologist. This isn’t so much as a study but rather pushing the idea that meteorologist are usually the only people at a news station with science background and therefore become the scientist of the station. AMS new program will increase the importance of the meteorologist to a news station. This is important to look at because it gives a better understanding of how meteorologists function in the broadcasting world.


  1. “Improving TV weather broadcasts with technological advancements: two cases from a 20 year perspective”


Keywords: TV, Weather, Forecast


This article focuses on how the improvement and technological advancements allotted to TV weather broadcasts has created a wide variety of choices that can enhance the information content. The paper focuses on two specific cases of advancements in TV weather broadcasts. Each is described and has the benefits and challenges laid out. It could be important to delve further into to because of the impacts that new advancements can have in the way the public receives weather information.


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