Weather conditions have dominated much of the news during 2014, from record-breaking ice and snow to landslides in Washington and stormy search conditions in the south Indian Ocean. Every local radio and TV journalist knows that any significant variance in weather should lead the broadcast, because this is the one story that potentially impacts everyone in the market.
Weather can shut down the most resilient businesses and institutions can unify even the most diverse communities and can defeat even the most thorough planning. That’s why, for example, the prevalence of references to weather in our economy should be no surprise. We speak about the business climate, winds of economic change, weathering setbacks in the market, barometers of performance, and endless other meteorological metaphors.
Weather terminology, however, has been inexcusably lacking in the community of public relations and journalism professionals. We’ve tended to favor a more ghastly lexicon featuring such words as “hit,” “beat,” “jump,” “kill” and “widow.”
I think it’s time that we injected a few weather-related terms into the communications vernacular to help our terminology better relate to the weather-driven mindset of our readers. As a start, I propose that communicators begin adopting the following phrases:
Avalanching—burying the lede of a story.
Blizzarati—the unnecessary words that clutter sentences and should be shoveled out.
Twistering—turning to look at the slides on the projection screen during a presentation, rather than at the audience.
Windstorm—to produce run-on sentences by using faulty punctuation.
Forwardcasting—texting an eyewitness photo and/or comment to a news organization.
Cloud-hopping—gathering data and background information from multiple online sources while researching an article.
Haboobing—throwing up so many facts and figures that the meaning, value or intelligibility of an article is obscured.
Stationarial—failing to advance with technology in the use of communications tools.
Help me out; what other weather terms do you think would be appropriate to add to our new communications glossary?