The WDR is heavily criticized for its reporting on the storm in North Rhine-Westphalia. The broadcaster reacted and admitted deficits. However, they have a reason.
The low weather ‘Bernd’ caused heavy rain, floods and devastation in North Rhine-Westphalia on Wednesday and Thursday night. Several people were killed and dozens are still missing. That night, the first criticism of West German Broadcasting (WDR) was loud. The accusation: regional broadcasters did not warn the residents of the region in time and left them alone.
On Twitter, numerous users were outraged and stunned, and there was also criticism from fellow journalists. Thomas Lückerath, editor-in-chief of the media magazine ‘DWDL’, spoke in a comment of ‘failure to provide assistance’. The former director and editor-in-chief of the ARD capital studio in Berlin, Ulrich Deppendorf, complained that no ‘focal point’ was broadcast on the first. ‘This is how you damage the information skills of ARD,’ tweeted the 71-year-old.
This is what the WDR says about the criticism of the reporting
At the request of thesternthe WDR announced the following: ‘Due to the storm situation in North Rhine-Westphalia, the WDR changed its program on television, radio and for the network yesterday and today. Last night, the WDR reported on the storm situation and the situation of the people in North Rhine-Westphalia. Every half hour there were mono-thematic special editions of the radio news on all radio waves, reporters reported on the special situation on site. In the network at WDR.de and at WDR Aktuell there was continuously updated information on the situation in Wuppertal, Euskirchen and in the Rhein-Sieg district. In its night coverage for the young waves of ARD, 1LIVE provided information about the situation every 15 minutes. Further ARD night programs, such as the ARD Infonacht, were supplied with information from the WDR newsroom, so that WDR 5 was also able to provide information every 15 minutes during the night in discussions with the correspondents. ‘
WDR studio in Wuppertal itself affected by the storm
However, the broadcaster shared the assessment that reporting from Wuppertal was neglected. According to a WDR spokeswoman, this had the following reason: ‘The WDR studio there itself was so badly affected by the storm that it could no longer broadcast itself from 3 a.m. onwards.’ Then the studios in Düsseldorf and Cologne took over to inform the people in the Bergisches Land. The contributions came from WDR reporters who were out and about in Wuppertal. For security reasons, the city of Wuppertal turned off the electricity in the early hours of the morning. Attempts are currently being made to ‘make the studio live again with the help of alternative transmission channels’.
During the day, two special programs are to be broadcast on WDR – at 5 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. In addition, the radio stations 1LIVE, WDR 2, WDR 4 and WDR 5 have changed their daily program and have been reporting almost monothematically since 5 a.m. this morning.