ANALYSIS: THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION - Is there still a silly season?

Heavyweight stories such as Omagh and US air strikes have dominated the news agenda

Heavyweight stories such as Omagh and US air strikes have dominated

the news agenda

Tim Halford, Standard Chartered

’July and August - the silly, fatuous, imprudent season - is alive and

well. Holidays deplete offices and newsrooms. Newspapers have to be

filled and unscrupulous hacks feast on the inexperience and innocence of

those left behind. And what easy prey. Little stories, good and bad, get

big coverage. A testing time when careers are made and broken. Best go


Simon Walker, British Airways

’I heard a ten-minute interview on Radio 4’s Today programme recently,

which consisted of a debate between an academic and a bishop about

whether or not the head of Christ was buried under a Scottish monastery

If you can get the Today programme debating these kind of issues in

August, then there certainly is still a silly season.’

Tari Hibbitt, Edelman PR Worldwide

’The silly season still exists but it certainly isn’t what it used to

be. News management has improved, and the holiday vacuum is now filled

with a combination of political scandals and economic ups and downs. PR

advisers have become smarter. They see the silly season as a chance to

get attention with good hard news and it makes more sense to release

stories in the summer because the internet and databases mean news can

be caught at a later date by those who are away.’

Max Clifford, Max Clifford Associates

’This season there have been so many enormous stories - the Irish

situation, Glenn Hoddle, the continuing battle of the Royal Family

trying to reinvent itself. But at the same time there are always

opportunities for silly season stories, which is just as well because

there is a need to lighten things up a bit. Ever since Freddie Starr’s

hamster, our silly season has lasted from January to December.’

Clive Armitage, Bite Communications

’Although some of the general media still resort to ’light’ stories to

fill space in the holiday season, better global communications mean that

global news is available 24 hours a day from a wide variety of sources -

news wires, web sites, satellite, cable TV, even web TV. Whatever time

of year, wherever you are, you’re never far from world events. This,

rather than silly season stories, is what now fills news pages.’

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