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  • Why journalists love extreme weather

    According to friend who lives deep in the Cotswolds, the shelves of the local branch of Tesco have been stripped bare. The urge to panic-buy, it seems, has seized the residents of the South West and compelled them to run to their nearest Morrisons or Sainsbury’s — or even Waitrose if you live in Bath or Cirencester. Why? Because the media has predicted Snowmaggedon and is now busily trying to demonstrate that its prophecy was correct.

    As I sit writing, the snow is around six inches deep outside the office window and still falling. Children are playing, building snowmen, pulling sledges. A few cars are driving slowly and cautiously by. Snowy, yes, but hardly The Day After Tomorrow.

    The media love a good extreme weather story — first, because it affects every single potential reader or viewer in the UK, and second because it allows them to play the public service card in a big way. The impact of all this media coverage is to magnify the impact of the snowfall and turn it into a life-changing event rather than just a chance to stay at home and try out some winter sports.

    But for the canny business, snowfall like this does present PR opportunities With so much coverage, there’s a lot of room to piggyback the story, getting positive coverage. Here are a couple of good examples.

    This is how sports body Rounders England managed to get themselves into the Liverpool media with a snowy tale – although the copy does describe it as ‘PR puff’.

    And here’s Whipsnade Zoo getting in on the act with the Huffington Post.

    Have a think about how your business might be able to make the most of weather like this. I suspect we’re going to be seeing quite a few weird and wonderful stories over the coming few days.