Letter From the Editor 

Question of the week in Memphis: "Do you have power?"

As I write this, 50,000 or so Memphians don't. MLGW crews are working long hours to get electricity restored to those still impacted by last week's violent storms, and everyone is supposed to be back on the grid by week's end. But it's been a tough few days for lots of residents and businesses.

click to enlarge iran_protest2.jpg

A few questions come to mind: Where is Mayor Herenton? Shouldn't he be out front when trouble strikes the city he leads — reassuring the populace, publicly touring impacted areas, letting citizens know their leader is on the case?

Apparently not. I know the mayor can't reconnect people's electrical service, and that if he did make appearances, many would call it political grandstanding, but when disaster hits, the mayor needs to be visible and involved.

Another question: When your power's out, where do you go to get information on the situation? It used to be that you'd turn on your trusty transistor radio to get the latest updates from local stations. You could also tune your radio to pick up local television stations. No more.

For one thing, local radio stations don't even have news staffs anymore. (In fact, most "local" Memphis stations aren't local at all; they're owned and operated by corporations in distant cities.) To make matters worse, now that television stations are broadcasting digitally, you can't even tune in to, say, Channel 5, for updates, unless you've upgraded to a digital transistor.

So what do we do if an earthquake strikes? I think the current situation in Iran offers a way forward: Twitter.com. I'm not joking. Andrew Sullivan has dedicated his "Daily Dish" blog to the Iranian uprising this week. He's using Twitter.com and posting dozens of messages from those on the frontlines. It's riveting reading, in 140-character bites. We learn who's missing, where the soldiers are, where the next march will start, where the latest explosion occurred.

Meanwhile, CNN, Fox, and MSNBC are broadcasting "updates" that are out of date before they even go on the air. When it comes to real-time reporting, blow-dried news readers are history. Cell phones and other mobile devices are the future of emergency broadcasting.

However, if you can find an analog station, your transistor radio can still be very helpful. You can listen to the Eagles and Journey while you wait for the MLGW truck.

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Hurricane 901

Music Blog

Listen Up: Nathan McHenry

News Blog

Rate Changes to Come for Metered Parking Downtown

Intermission Impossible

The Winners for the 2017 High School Musical Theatre Awards

Hungry Memphis

Ghost River's Grindhouse Headed to a Can Near You

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

The Lovers

Music Blog

The Restoration of John Gary Williams

News Blog

MLGW and UPS Receive Sustainability Award

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Flat City

    • Mar 30, 2017
  • Remembering Irvin Salky: One of a Kind

    • May 18, 2017
  • Common Sense Pot Policy

    Unlike Bill Clinton, I've inhaled. So have 49 percent of all Americans, according to a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Marijuana (medical or otherwise) has been decriminalized or legalized in 23 states, and measures are on the ballot to legalize it in five more states this November, including Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and California (where medical pot is already legal). A recent Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans think pot should be legalized and regulated like alcohol ...
    • Aug 25, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation