May 3, 2010 • Written by

The Nashville Flood: Where were you?

No, don’t worry, this isn’t one of those esoteric posts to be shared by those who have lived through an event such as 9/11 or whatnot.  This is more like a literal posed question to people who I think deserve to give us an answer. ~Mitch

During and after the flood that hit Nashville in 2010, I stayed glued to WKRN (and the WKRN twitter account) to see what was going on with friends and constituents who were trapped or lost stuff in the flood.

Our local news stations (WKRN, WSMV, and NewsChannel5) did a bang up job keeping everyone informed, up to date, and out of harms way as best as possible.  I mean, when flood waters get into a 500-year flood plain (where floods MIGHT happen once every 500 years) then there’s really only so much planning can do.  But they were vigilant, their news anchors showing signs of fatigue as the night went on.

The twitter stream was on in full force too.  Citizen journalists and news team twitter accounts relayed and received information at supersonic speed.  @tndotcom, @nashvillest, @wkrn and their network of followers spread the news of what was going on to their followers (sometimes) faster than the news stations were.

So… local news stations? A+.  Local Twitter account users? A+.

National Media… White House… Where were you?

It’s 2:15pm CST on May 3rd.  We have only a little coverage on FoxNews and (for most of the morning) neither CNN nor anyone else really was having much to say about it.  Sure, right now there’s concern of the giant gulf oil spill.  I’ll give em that one. But when a bomb almost explodes in New York, a whole day ago, you report on it and go on to something that has a little more meaning.  We had record level flooding, people getting forced out of their homes, and even buildings being swept down major interstates.

Where were you?

We sent a request into the Federal government on Saturday, knowing full well we’d need it after all of the heavy downpours (and we will need help with the rebuilding efforts).

Where were you?

We’ve been watching as friends and family are displaced, sent to shelters, or even lost their lives and livelihoods as the Cumberland river swept over Nashville to levels no one has seen in nearly 80 years.

And what did we get?  2nd billing under a “Happy Birthday Singing Dog” and no word from the Commander-in-Chief.

Where were you?

I guess it’s been enough time to where I can change my question up a bit:

Where are you?

Is it because we’re a red state?  Is it because we aren’t a New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, or other major city?  Is it because we fly under the scandal radar (for the most part) and keep quiet as our citizens prosper and our startups continually do great things?

I do want to go back on a statement I keep hearing: Traditional media is dead – social media is where things are going.  I want to change it a bit:

National media is dead.  Local media, and social media, are the blend of information services we need to survive, and as long as there are television sets we will still rely on our local news teams.

Why? For the same reasons mom-and-pop businesses thrive when chain stores suffer: community.  No one knows our community like we do, and no one knows what we need to hear like the people in it.  Our local news anchors are the community – they live here, they work here, and they have stake in what goes on because its happening to them too.  Some dude sitting at a news desk 1000 miles away – He hasn’t got a clue.

So, hats off to everyone who got us through this mess – i forgot a lot of people, but you know who you are.  And for those of you outside of Nashville that don’t care: yes, we’re still here.  We’re drying out our socks and shoes (and boots) and getting ready to step up and continue to do our thing.

With you, or without you.

Because, the question still bears asking:

Where are you?