Since 2005, Western Sullivan County has been hit by devastating floods where sadly, a good handful of people have passed away from either by drowning or getting their car swept away from the water. I’ll never forget the flood of 2006- my family was evacuated in a rowboat. It’s still pretty surreal, floating down Main Street Roscoe in a boat. My dad joked “well Allie, I never got to take you to Venice, so this is the next best thing!”
Yeah. That was downtown Roscoe in 2006. The flood in 2007 took the lives of 5 or 6 people, including my old boss’ parents.
One would suppose that after experiencing some pretty disastrous floods that mayyyybee our main news sources would get it together. (cough, cough: Times Herald Record, Sullivan County Democrat, and The River Reporter) You know like spreading the word about these sorts of things by just putting up a little blurb on their website? Sullivan County may not be the most wired county when it comes to internet access, but a little notification wouldn’t hurt anyone right?
WRONG. As of 1 AM, neither the Times Herald Record, Sullivan County Democrat, or The River Reporter have reported on their websites that Sullivan County Manager, David Fanslau, has issued a flood warning for residents who reside near the Beaverkill (aka Cooks Falls, Roscoe, Livingston Manor) and that Roscoe, Livingston Manor, and Jeffersonville have already experienced minor flooding.
How do I know this if the three main news sources in Sullivan County have not reported this?
The Catskill Chronicle, an independent blog by unpaid writers, wrote about this. They broke the story at 8 PM. It appeared in my GoogleReader. My brother told me when he came home from work that Roscoe has already declared a flood warning and that there are roads that have been washed out- but I didn’t know whether or not it was hear-say or fact because I didn’t see any of the newspapers report about such vital information.
It just makes me so livid- time and time again we have seen how devastating such events can be. Lives are taken, homes, cars, and businesses are destroyed and granted- I realize that the floods that are going on right now aren’t going to reach the depths of the floods of 2005, 2006, and 2007- but regardless the information should be out there. It takes 5 minutes tops to publish a simple blurb, status, or tweet that part of the county is under a flood warning.
What gets me is that small town newspapers keep saying how they are the ones really feeling the hit by the decline of print journalism. I won’t dispute this- it’s a fact. However in this day and age, with technology getting more advanced and people getting used to hearing about news events within a moment’s time, you have to accept that this is the way things are going to be and step up your online presence. It won’t only show that your paper is still a credible player in the regional media scene but it will show that you give a damn about your readership. And in a small, rural county that sentiment still means something..
Seriously- if I was on the payroll of either three of those news sources- I’d be embarrassed as hell to be shown up by a blog.