The Norman Transcript

News Features

June 8, 2013

Q&A with Oklahoma emergency management director

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Q: Is there any critique you would like to make about the way the media handled these latest storms?

A: I had a talk on Sunday when we drove from El Reno with the governor. I suggested that we get a group together made up of meteorologists from Oklahoma City and Tulsa as well as the National Weather Service, and that we all sit down and come up with consistent messaging.

Q: Do you think some of the television commentary was a little hyperbolic?

A: I’m not going to point fingers. But we’re always very concerned when there’s a mixed message out there. We were very concerned about the people that were piled up when that tornado was going across I-35. The meteorologists we have in this state, they do an outstanding job. It’s difficult for me to say what they did wrong when they do so much right.

Q: What touched you most deeply during these last storms?

A: The loss of life. It always does.

I found out a long time ago that one person’s grief or concern is no greater than anyone else’s. My wife lost her sister in the Oklahoma City bombing.

But I always felt sorry for the people who lost someone that same day in a car wreck. Was their grief different? It just wasn’t publicized. Tragedy is tragedy.

Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state.

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