When can you call yourself a meteorologist?

From NewsBlues (subscription required) this morning comes an amazing story of arrogance “gone to seed” in the state of Texas. It seems a state representative has introduced a bill in the Texas legislature (HR577) that would make it criminal (a class‑C misdemeanor) to identify yourself as a “meteorologist” on-the-air unless you’ve passed extensive coursework listed in the bill.

According to NewsBlues, the bill’s origin is a miffed Dallas TV meteorologist.

(The bill) was pushed through by State Representative Vicki Truitt of Southlake, Tex., who, according to local weather types, did so at the request of Ft. Worth KXAS-5-NBC weather guesser (excuse me, Meteorologist) Rebecca Miller, who reportedly got her knickers in a knot over all those uncertified guessers soiling the good name of her trade.

This bill would mean that those people getting “broadcast certificates” from Mississippi State University would not be able to call themselves “Meteorologists” in Texas, even with the certification and training.

I’m told qualifications required to satisfy the Texas proposal are actually more stringent than the NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS) or Amercian Meteorological Society (AMS) regulations. Isn’t this silly?

I mean, this is so outrageous that it’s laughable. The woman wants it to be a bloody CRIME to get a degree from Mississippi State’s broadcast meteorology program and go on the air as a meteorologist. In so doing, we’re supposed to think that TV weather people — the élite ones — are in the category of doctors and lawyers. Oh wait! Those protected elites are licensed by the state. So do we want the state to license meteorologists? For what reason? Let’s hope the Texas legislature realizes it has slightly more important things that it needs to be doing.

Good grief, and we wonder why everyday people are fleeing from beneath our pedestals. Aren’t WE important?

Comments

  1. Matt C. Wilson says

    Whew. At least this won’t affect Phil here in the great state of Pennsylvania. I don’t think he’s licensed, and he’s been doing it for 119 years!

    http://www.groundhog.org

    (Was on hiatus for a while Terry, good to be back. Keep up the great posts.)

  2. Would the state of Texas bar a number of The Weather Channel’s weather people from being piped in on cable?

    THe Weather Channel might have to craft a separate name key to be put on all the Texas cable ops, just like it does with the local forecasts throughout the country.

  3. I know Rebecca and I have a lot of respect for her, both personally and professionally. But if the story is accurate, she’s misguided.

    Here’s the bottom line: no one except TV station managers and promotion people care if their forecaster is a meteorologist. The viewers care only about accurate information presented well.

    Besides, if you eliminate the Mississippe State grad’s ability to use the term “meteorologist,” your potentially affecting everyone who’s received a degree by correspondence or “distance learning.”

  4. Of course, in my last line, that should have read “you’re potentially.…”

    I never claimed to be an English major, although I do write in English on TV.

  5. Of course, the last line in my comment SHOULD have read: “you’re potentially.…”

    I don’t claim to be an English major, although I do use English on TV.

  6. Perry Williams says

    This proposed legislation is a farce. I’ve been a Skywarn storm spotter for nearly twenty-three years.…and know the true reason people lose their lives in tornadoes, and it has NOTHING to do with tv weather forecasters lacking college degrees in meteorology.

    The reason most tornado fatalities occur is the failure to heed tornado warnings; people staying in mobile homes and vehicles when tornadoes approach.….not seeking shelter in an underground shelter, basement, or inside a well built structure; the failure to follow basic tornado safety rules.

    This misguided legislation, if passed won’t ever save a single life from dying in tornadoes or severe thunderstorms; not in Texas, nor anywhere in America.

  7. I think the reason a lot of tv meteorologists are ticked is because of management. No matter where the mets credentials come from you always find management promoting their people as meteorologists. When they don’t specifically say they’re meteorologists they still leave the promo opened ended and clearly infer that the person being promoted is a meteorologist. The other way they try fooling the public is to call the person a “forecaster”. Well, my dog can be called a forecaster, but not a meteorologist. Again, it’s an attempt to make the public think you have something you don’t have. I’ve seen a lot of weather promotions done over the years that are clearly scams on the public. It always amazed me that the people we trust to gather and broadcast the truth to us are some of the most deceptive ones around when it comes to promotion. How can we believe anything on the air when they can justify the lies put forth in promotions? Of course, not that the public hasn’t picked up on this over the years, but then remember, the only reason NEWS ratings are down in the mainstream media is because of cable and satellite saturation!(right).

    The weather person isn’t the one who goes to promotion to have these done. Another thing, a meteorologist who has spent 4+ years getting a degree heavy in physics, chemistry, and calculus does have the right to protect and defend his/her profession just like any other professional who has received a degree with that level and intensity of coursework. Some do go overboard, but some in other professions also do. Compare the requirements to be a 5th grade teacher with the requirements to be a meteorologist, and then look at the course of study to get to both of those positions. I’m not knocking teachers by any means, but anyone in the know realizes the intensity of going through a regular meteorology program.

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