It’s silly season right now. At least, it is in the UK and many other countries. In the US, it is called the slow news season. Elsewhere it can be called cucumber time, or another such term.
The reason, of course, is that at this time of year news is harder to come by. Yes, there are still things going on but in the northern hemisphere parliaments and congresses have long summer breaks. So do courts. South of the equator, the season tends to refer to a period surrounding the Christmas and New Year holidays. Remember, December and January are summer months there.
Silly season is a term with which I am quite familiar, having spent my career in journalism. I know full well about the scarcity of real news during the summer.
And that’s why we see frivolous news items in the Press that would not be likely otherwise. Frivolous items that give rise to the term ‘silly season’.
It’s true, too, for news about disabilities. Whatever, and however, a disability affects us – developments are scarce during these months. Changes to benefits? Sorry, no, the government is on holiday.
The independent organization Benefits and Work publishes a regular newsletter, but not during the silly season. In its last edition on July 17, it said: “This is our last newsletter, and money-off coupon, until Friday September 6. Parliament is about to go into recess and will return on September 5, briefly, before the conference season begins.
Silly season = slow news
“That should mean that we are spared any more new initiatives or bogus consultations before the Autumn and gives us all a chance to recharge our batteries. But, if anything dramatic does occur relating to benefits, we’ll bring out a special edition.”
In the UK, parliament has not met since July 20 and returns on September 5. In the US, congress finished one week later, on July 28, but also restarts on September 5.
Any news about developments in new drugs and treatment of diseases such as multiple sclerosis? No, not at all. The last news update on the website of the MS Society was posted on June 30. In the USA, the National MS Society last posted a news item on August 8 – and that wasn’t about MS. It was about the congress summer holiday.
And don’t expect to take your benefits claim to court either. The UK High Court’s summer break lasts from August 1 to the beginning of October.
Oh well, it looks as though the news media will, once again, have to resort to the frivolous.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.