Tue | Sep 25, 2018

ODPEM, Met Service partnering with media to circulate weather information

Published:Tuesday | August 28, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Head, Weather Branch, Meteorological Service of Jamaica, Kareen Gourzong, shares information with Director, Marketing and Communications, Caribbean Maritime University, and Journalist, Archibald Gordon, at a recent media workshop jointly hosted by the Met Service and Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) at the Courtyard Marriot Hotel, New Kingston.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the Meteorological Service of Jamaica (Met Service) are looking to strengthen collaborations with media partners to simplify how weather- and disaster-related information is disseminated to the public.

Journalists and weather practitioners shared the processes involved in their work and how they can collaborate to enable seamless information flow during a recent workshop jointly organised by the agencies at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, New Kingston.

The event enabled the agencies to recommend the most effective ways of dealing with and reporting on weather phenomena, while allowing media representatives to share industry peculiarities and make recommendations on how to best package disaster and weather-related information for public education.

Topics covered included 'How the Weather and Tropical Systems Work', 'Climate Change and Influences on the Caribbean', 'How the Media Works and Reports on Stories', 'Weather and Climate on Social Media', and 'Keeping the Public Informed - What We Really Want to Know'.

ODPEM's director general, Major Clive Davis, who spoke at the workshop, noted the extent to which extreme weather conditions have been and are impacting Jamaica and other countries, while emphasising that "the media is the conduit through which we share life-saving information".

Consequent on this, he said, it is important for the public to get the requisite information in an understandable manner that enables them to make critical decisions and take the necessary precautions.

Meanwhile, director for the Met Service, Evan Thompson, said the workshop aimed to foster a smooth relationship among the parties in an effort to better serve Jamaicans, especially in times of extreme weather and disasters.

There was also input from the public regarding concerns about how weather is reported and how this can be improved based on the areas of focus.

The workshop was a part of a public-education campaign being jointly undertaken by ODPEM and the Met Service during the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.