The night after Katrina struck us we were able to rig up a small television with rabbit ears to a generator around 10 or 11 p.m.
We were eager to get some sort of information after all the insanity of the day. With 90% of the roads blocked and no power anywhere for a hundred miles, we felt as though we needed to hear something official.
Who did we see peeking through the static and meepty reception?
Yeah, our local television station got back up and running to show meeping Conan O'Brien.
Understandibly, we ranted about this for a while. We had no source of information other than a distant radio station for about two or three days. It looked like Hiroshima all around us, but all the T.V. would show were sitcoms.
My local television station, WDAM, an NBC affiliate, was the first in our area to get back on the air after Katrina. After showing their NBC feed for a few days, they switched to 'round the clock, no suit and tie, anything goes live broadcasting from their news desk. They answered their cellphones on the air and would have conversations about whatever popped in their head. They were obviously hot and sweaty and tired because they frequently snapped at each other. They had no reporters, so they sent out interns dressed in jeans and a t-shirt with frayed baseball caps to interview people and such.
All in all, it was a clustermeep. But, we often tuned in to hear about ice, water, power and anything else.
Yesterday, I saw a commercial for a DVD of their entire week-long coverage. They've edited together all of the reports and newsdesk stuff into a DVD they are selling for $24.95
(you can see it here: http://www.wdam.com/Global/Link.asp?L=176059)
All around our city there are little tents set up selling Katrina T-Shirts and homemade DVDs about the storm. Several books have emerged as well, the kind you can write in a week, about Katrina.
It's been 4 months, and I just don't know how to feel about it. I mean, I put up a couple of items on my website right after we got internet service. The idea had come out of some sort of heat-induced insanity filled roundtable discussion my firends and I had somewhere toward the end. But, after thinking about it, after coming to my senses, I took them down because it seemed unethical. So I feel hypocritical about crticizing those who are trying to cash in on a natural disaster. But still....