Terminology in weather reports a challenge

A two-day media awareness workshop on meteorology last week has revealed that the use of scientific terminology in weather reports is a challenge for media outlets.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) hosted the workshop from December 3-4 at the Taumeasina Island Resort to educate media organisations’ reporters, announcers and television presenters on weather reports as well as to get feedback from the media on ways to improve their services.

In an interview with the media on the sidelines of the two-day workshop, the Meteorology Service Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Faapisa Aiono said there appears to be a common concern among media outlets for the terminologies used in weather reports that they issue.

"The accuracy of the information, the terminologies and also the simplicity of information I believe that the common challenge faced by the media outlets, it's the terminologies, as it's too technical," she said.

"The concerns and challenges that are faced by the media outlets really helped us as we have been asking for feedback in order to improve our services.  

“So with the concerns and everything that has been presented today, it is really helpful for us to go back and review so that we can make the reports simple and understandable.”

According to Ms Aiono, the two-day workshop enabled them to see which areas they need to improve on and what they need to do to tackle the barriers that are affecting their relationship with the media. 

"It enables us to build their capacity in learning and understanding the terminologies from MET's Office from the Meteorology Division with experiences, where we have warnings and our early morning reports coming out.

“And there is some information that is not accurately reported due to lack of understanding, that is also on our side to try and help the media outlets as well to deliver the message well and information accurately and on time.”

Ms Aiono said that they believe the media plays an important role in getting the information to the general public. 

However, she is adamant it has to be a win-win situation, as they will understand what needs to be done in order for their office to improve its service and for the media to create a better relationship with them.

"This workshop will benefit the public from the MET issuing weather reports, warnings and advisories," she added. “And if the partnership between Samoa MET and the media is strengthened we get to understand, we get them the information on time they get to report it on time also and accurately. 

“It will benefit our people for decision-making. It will help them prepare for any disasters, especially for these cyclone seasons.”

The Ministry’s MET will now go through all the feedback that was collated following the two-day workshop and work towards overcoming the challenges that were highlighted.

"We provide both English and Samoan versions of our forecast for our people. Some of the words we used are a bit too hard,” she further reiterated. “But we are trying our best so this is good feedback from our media outlets today.”

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