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Outliers: Sandy humor irks Michigan nurses


By Modern Healthcare
Posted: November 3, 2012 - 12:01 am ET
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The Michigan Nurses Association wasn't very impressed by a joke about superstorm Sandy posted last week online by the Detroit News.

The Detroit News, @detnews, re-tweeted this joke from a follower: “BREAKING: Frankenstorm upgraded to Count Stormula #sandy.”

The humor didn't sit too well with the nurses association, which took to its Twitter account, @minurses, to rip the newspaper's Twitter judgment.

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“Would appreciate media being serious; people died,” MNA’s Twitter account posted.

The flap showed up on the media site JimRomenesko.com, which started a conversation by journalists over the legitimacy of the union’s criticism. The website ran a letter from MNA spokeswoman Dawn Kettinger that noted the efforts of nurses responding to the storm.

“We’ve been watching from afar in Michigan, seeing all the horror our fellow human beings are facing, and also stories like nurses heroically saving lives by evacuating hospitals last night in NYC, literally keeping vent-dependent babies alive by manually bagging them as they walked them down flights of stairs. Then we see media doing things like this,” Kettinger’s letter read.

Kettinger elaborated in an e-mail to Outliers: “The issue is how a news media outlet, not an individual, uses social media during a major humanitarian disaster. As a former journalist, I understand using dark humor as a coping mechanism—and healthcare professionals understand it, too; however, most commentators agreed with Amy Lee’s opinion on the blog: ‘Newsroom gallows humor perhaps should stay inside the newsroom when people are suffering.’ On behalf of nurses who were fighting to save lives and help the sick and injured, we felt it was inappropriate for a media outlet to poke fun at an evolving situation in which dozens of people died and tens of thousands more were left struggling.”


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