I hate winter. So, I'm heading to Alaska. Why? Itís quite logical.
It's not the cold (well that's not entirely true) but the lack of sunlight that I hate about winter. So, I'll be in Alaska on June 21 --
the summer solstice, longest day of the year and beginning of summer. By spending that day in Alaska, I get a bonus: 18 hours, 16 minutes and 39 seconds
worth of daylight in a single day. But whoís counting? Back home in Denver, daylight peaks out at 14 hours, 59 minutes and 9 seconds.
Actually, it's not the day I celebrate so much as what it represents. As the longest day of the year, the summer solstice is the antithesis of
long winter nights. So, off to Alaska to celebrate the beginning of summer!
Worse Off Than A French Hotel After A Night In Jail
I won't be hanging around, though. One week in Alaska and I'm gone. I'm not sticking around for those long, winter nights. No way. One
winter night in Alaska and I'd be worse off than a spoiled heiress named for a French hotel after a night in jail.
I celebrate the winter solstice, too, because once it's done the days begin getting longer. It's one of the landmarks I use to get myself
through winter. I don't dwell on the fact that the days start getting shorter on June 22. There's still plenty of long, summer days left to
Incidentally, not everyone in my family shares my winterphobia. My oldest son likes winter. As the amount of darkness grows each day, he feels his
"days" (which is to say the hours when itís dark) get longer. I'm not making this up. There's just no accounting for taste.
The summer and winter solstice have been around more or less forever -- long before there was anyone around to notice them, in fact. That's
because Earth has been revolving around the sun ever since there was an Earth and sun. And there's been a summer and winter solstice since that
began happening -- even though there wasn't anyone around to take note of it.
Predictable As The Sunrise, Just Not As Often
The solstices have been around long enough, in fact, to provide a predictable news hook. There are about 30 days of news coverage (almost entirely
positive or neutral) each year about the summer solstice. And the angling (as in fishing) industry rides that predictable coverage1 to remind
the rest of us that the solstice is the signal to go fishing in warmer waters, have fun boating and fishing, win fishing and fish-story contests and --
of course -- buy tackle, boats, rods and fishing magazines and attend sport-fishing events.
What about your industry? What seasonal news hooks can you use to generate news? And how will your measure your success?
For some of us, unfortunately, the calendar brings an annual cycle of bad news in the form of anniversaries of past bad news. And these bad-news
cycles can be as predictable as the summer solstice.
How do you counter that? Find a way to make good news that will help offset the bad news you know is coming. For example, one pharmaceutical company
minimizes annual negative drug-recall coverage2 by launching community collaborations to help indigent and elderly people have access to
This is another place where measurement can help. Knowing exactly what negative messages you're likely to see will help you formulate news to
counter them. And tracking your results from year to year will tell you whether you're succeeding in turning the tide from bad to good.
Yes, I said "year-to-year." Ending negative coverage sparked by the anniversary of bad news from your past can take years to accomplish.
But providing good news of your own to minimize the bad coverage can help speed the process.
1Yahoo!News 5/13/2007 - 6/13/2007, chart includes 2006 trends from BlueVision media measurement;
2Yahoo!News 4/13/2007 - 6/13/2007, chart includes 2006 trends from BlueVision media measurement.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jerry Brown committed journalism for 20 years, but received a full pardon. He's been practicing
public relations for more than 20 years and plans to keep practicing until he gets it right -- which he hopes takes a long time because he likes what he
does. He specializes in strategy and message development, media relations and media training and writing (news releases, annual reporters, collateral,
etc.). He also writes the Monday Morning Media Minute, a free weekly media tip distributed by e-mail.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org / 303-781-8787.
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