After a tumultuous 2007, I offer below some predictions for 2008. Apologies to William Safire, my favorite columnist who popularized this gimmick during his long stint at The New York Times. (Answers below. Note: "all" or "none" are OK.)
1. The biggest PR success story will involve: (a) the resurrection of a famous political candidate's campaign after personal revelations seemingly torpedo it; (b) salvation of a top consumer brand after a serious health/ safety scare; (c) the Bush administration's latest "public diplomacy" attempt to improve our image abroad; (d) a viral video that launches a new global brand.
2. A predictable PR failure will be: (a) the administration's public diplomacy initiative; (b) congressional Democrats' claims of leadership; (c) news companies' assurances that continuing staff cutbacks won't affect the quality of their reports; (d) the entertainment cartel's ongoing copyright lawsuits against grandmothers.
3. The biggest economic trend in PR will be: (a) industry consolidation in the face of turbulence; (b) employment outsourcing from in-house PR to agencies; (c) outsourcing clerical jobs overseas; (d) establishment firms losing business to entrepreneurial startups.
4. US TV news programs will pay special attention to: (a) non-military factors affecting national security; (b) the economic and environmental ills we're leaving our kids; (c) missing white women and reckless celebrities; (d) Wall Street's central role in global economic turmoil; (e) the US' steady slide toward authoritarian rule.
5. At least one regional daily will: (a) stop publishing a Saturday edition except online; (b) launch a major investigation that calls on readers to help with the reporting; (c) end the year with one-third the editorial staff it had in 2000; (d) lose 25% of its paid circulation.
6. Under Rupert Murdoch, the US edition of The Wall Street Journal will: (a) become a tabloid; (b) be visibly boosterish of China's regime in news pages; (c) merge with Fox News; (d) moderate its extreme editorial page positions (e) get even better.
7. The year's biggest media scandal will involve: (a) a stealth PR campaign; (b) pay-for-play coverage in a big media organization; (c) political bloggers working, undisclosed, for candidates.
8. Bloggers or other citizen journalists will: (a) make steady overall progress in credibility and authority; (b) create a local media organization that has more than half of the incumbent daily newspaper's revenues; (c) figure out a sustainable business model, beyond donations, to support serious investigations.
9. Advertisers will: (a) move half of their spending into Google products; (b) move half of their spending to word-of-mouth campaigns; (c) return to TV and newspapers after failing to make serious inroads online; (d) aim increasingly at highly targeted media where the audiences see ads as useful information.
We'll see how I did in a year's time. Happy holidays.
Dan Gillmor is the author of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People and director of the Center for Citizen Media (www.citmedia.org).
Answers: 1 (d); 2 (all); 3 (a); 4 (c); 5 (all); 6 (none); 7 (b); 8 (a); 9 (d).