Superstorm Sandy? Lower the hype

I always learned that when the story is dramatic and compelling, the writer gets out of the way and let’s the story tell itself. No hype is needed. And if Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath isn’t dramatic and compelling then journalism is in trouble.

So why has the media decided to call it “Superstorm Sandy?” (Or, I guess, using proper AP style it is “superstorm Sandy.” No, that’s not right. Superstorm isn’t one word. It should be “super-storm Sandy.”)

And it isn’t just isolated media, but virtually all media — television, which is known for its penchant for naming things, and print. Even my own newspaper got the memo and calls it that this morning.

Where are the AP style supercops when you need them? (Its most recent Twitter reference to Sandy was two days ago: “AP Style tip: Capitalize hurricane as part of a storm’s assigned name: Hurricane Sandy. Use it and its in pronoun references.”

Seems to me that Hurricane Sandy is sufficient, even though it is no longer classified as a hurricane. A week from now, people will refer to it as Hurricane Sandy, rather than as this trite “superstorm” moniker. Or they’ll call it Sandy, in the same way we refer to Katrina now.

Journalism doesn’t need to make up superlative adjectives to hype a story that doesn’t need hyping.




One thought on “Superstorm Sandy? Lower the hype

  1. Swirling confusion!

    I’m with you. Hurricane Sandy.

    But just for kicks, I’ll share this, from a National Weather Service release posted Oct. 27:

    The official NWS term for a tropical cyclone that has evolved into something else is “Posttropical cyclone”, where the post in post-tropical simply means after. Thus, once Sandy loses its tropical cyclone status it will be known as “Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy”

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