To kick off our 2017 shows, the Carolina Weather Group spent an hour with Jason Samenow, the weather editor at the Washington Post and a meteorologist with the newspaper's Capital Weather Gang.
During the interview, Samenow gave insight into the blog, their social presence and their contributions to the newspaper.
"You know we do work with a lot of different sections in the paper: from graphics, to social media, to video," Samenow said. "The Post has a growing video department so we do a lot of Facebook Lives [video] when they're significant weather events - and we'll do short, one-minute weather explainers."
Weather explainers is what the Capital Weather Gang is all about.
Founded in 2003 as CapitalWeather.com, a site not yet incorporated with the newspaper, Samenow envisioned a place where people could learn about changing weather conditions and interact with weather experts. At the time, Samenow was a contractor working in the nation's capital. As his contracted position ended, Samenow and his site made the jump over to the Washington Post and became the Capital Weather Gang.
Today, they're a leading voice in weather journalism with nearly 100,000 Facebook followers and another 700,000 on Twitter. Their work also appears on WaPo's Web site and digital platforms.
Their reporting features insights into upcoming storms, scientific explanations [in plain English] of weather phenomenons and all-around good climate know-how.
“What we try to do is layer our content. When we do an in-depth blog post, we will start-off in plain English; no jargon in a way everyone can understand.” Samenow explained when asked about their writing process. “A mistake I see frequently in weather writings: people do what we call, ‘bury the lead.’ The lead is the most important information. The who, what, where, why, and when. Sometimes they make you read a bunch of technical information before you get the bottom line . We start off with the bottom line.”
The Capital Weather Gang has garnered respect from both the public and weather experts when it comes to real-time reporting and accurate forecasting.
On their social media platforms, the team provides real-time weather conditions and short-terms forecasts...
... in addition to previews of upcoming, long-range events.
The groups "Snow Potential Index" explains the uncertainties and latest predictions related to forecasting upcoming winter storms. Samenow says the Capital Weather Gang will launch the index anytime there is at least a ten percent change of at least inch or more of snow at any of Washington, D.C.'s three airports within the next 7 days.