Parliament is now in recess, the schools are on holiday and the sun is clearly visible in the sky, it can only mean one thing for the UK’s media; we are now officially in the silly season. For the next couple of months there is likely to be little in the way of serious news (unless you include the seemingly never ending Labour leadership contest) and so the media will inevitably look for trivial or wacky stories to fill space.
So, we can now look forward to lots of stories about the weather (it’s too hot, not hot enough, too rainy, prospects of a drought, etc), cute little children doing something endearing, and cuddly animals behaving in an entertaining manner.
It’s not just newspaper editors who struggle to fill space at this time of year; TV schedulers are also finding it a trial to put something worthwhile on our screens. The TV channels are not going to put out expensive drama shows at a time of year when much of the potential audience are on holiday or out enjoying the nice weather, so the schedules seem to be crammed with shows about trainspotting and gardening. Am I alone in wondering if a flower show really merits an hour long programme at peak time on two consecutive evenings?
From the point of view of those of us who work in PR, the silly season can be a great time to sell in our own silly stories to the press. Many years ago I was a press officer for a Council in the south of England when there was a minor health scare around people eating barbecue meat which hadn’t been properly cooked. I came into contact with a group of farmer’s wives called – I promise I am not making this up – Ladies in Pigs. I arranged for these formidable ladies to put on a lunchtime demonstration in the town centre on how to barbecue pork properly and we handed out free samples to passing shoppers and office workers. It was a shameless PR stunt, but it resulted in considerable local press and regional TV coverage.
Rather than moan about the silly season, we should simply enjoy it.