Published: 22nd January 2019
ACJ to add weather reporting elective after getting tripod-like Personal Weather Station
The initiative is in association by The Weather Company and Rainwise. It is a first of its kind set-up in India
Wouldn't it be super cool to have your very own Personal Weather Station? If you think that it is a bit absurd and completely unrealistic, you might want to take it up with the students of the Asian College of Journalism. Thanks to The Weather Company, an IBM Business, the J-School now has its own weather station on its terrace — supposedly the first of its kind in India, which lets the students get accurate access to weather changes on their computer.
The college is also planning to introduce an elective on weather reporting from the next academic year, in collaboration with The Weather Company and RainWise. "The changing role and crucial importance of weather in our lives make this awareness and the journalistic expertise to cover the weather in all its predictability and unpredictability an indispensable part of new age journalism," says Sashi Kumar, Chairperson, ACJ.
Though it isn't conventionally perceived as connected to journalism, he tells us how important weather monitoring is for today's journalists. "We thought it was an interesting addition to the curriculum, especially at a time when journalism is going digital. The weather has its implications everywhere. The new module will be useful especially for students who are planning to specialise in covering weather and its changes," he says. He adds that while climate change is pretty much always the next big story for a journalist, this apparatus and elective will help new age journalists report on the issue in a much more effective way.
The whole idea started because of their need to experiment, said The Weather Company's Himanshu Goyal, who was at ACJ to introduce the programme. While he touched on the implication of climate change and how big an issue it is, he also explained how accurate and timely weather updates can have an impact on various sectors. Goyals tells us, "Our interest was to do this as an experiment. The whole idea is to enable journalists with more data and empower them with a meteorologist kind of expertise."
He also explains how the weather station works. "The data obtained here is live and online on two websites - the manufacturer's website and wunderground.com. It does a reality check of the weather predictions with more accuracy. Moreover, it gives you information on temperature, humidity, wind pressure and rain," he says. The device, which can capture the data up to a kilometre, is also easy to manage. "I'd encourage students to touch and feel it. Who knows, in the future, you'd see them carrying it around and reporting accurate weather. It only requires maintenance once a year," Goyal adds.