This time of year, the media are looking for every interesting angle they can find that ties into heat waves.
Al Tompkins, whose blog gives newspaper reporters great story ideas, has a bunch of heat-related examples in this post.
- How Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women cope with the heat while adhering to religious rules that require things like ankle-length skirts and long-sleeved shirts.
- Sweatiquette, as in etiquette tips for those of you who are “confronted with a sweaty friend who wants to give you a bear hug after he’s been percolating on a subway platform for 20 minutes. A normal greeting suddenly turns supremely awkward as you see the drops glistening on his brow and dripping down his neck. Suddenly, fear grips you, as you are forced to encounter the beast in front of you. There is no way out.” The New York Daily News did an entire story on sweatiquette over the weekend. Why can’t you etiquette experts come up with your own sweatiquette tips?
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that, in hot weather, little kids can be burned in seconds when they sit on hot metal playground slides.
- The South Bend (Ind.) Tribune reports that ceiling fans can reduce energy bills significantly, as much as 40 percent in the summer, according to the American Lighting Association. The cost to run a fan is usually estimated at pennies per day, and fans can lower a room temperature as much as 7 degrees in the summer.
When I worked as a newspaper reporter, I remember writing heat wave stories about:
—Retail outlets that attracted customers who didn’t have air conditioning at home but wanted relief from the heat.
—“Cool” summer jobs, like working in the county morgue or the freezer aisle of the grocery store. This story in the Indianapolis Star is a great example.
—Products or services that will help you keep cool, from misting fans to those build-a-dinner stores like Dinner by Design where you can assemble 12 entrees or more in about two hours, package them up, take them home and heat them in the microwave.
Piggybacking story ideas onto the weather is one of the most overlooked publicity tricks, even among veteran Publicity Hounds. In fact, there are so many opportunites to be included in the media’s weather stories, and so few takers, that I wrote “Special Report #37: How to Tie Your Product, Service, Cause or Issue to the Weather.”