|Victor Epstein, The Des Moines Register|
Public relations professionals seeking to avoid attention for unflattering developments while still making them public to avoid being accused of covering up legitimate news create the seasonal phenomenon. The two weeks of Christmas and
This year's dark period bore witness to former
"This is the best time of the year to do it because no one is paying attention. Just about everyone has checked out for the holidays," said Lohmeier, who is managing director of the
U.S. newsroom employment levels have dropped precipitously in recent years, and most organizations operate with skeleton staffs during the holidays.
The news release distribution firm normally issues about 1,000 releases daily, according to eReleases.
"We see a considerable drop in volume the week before Christmas, and the week between the holidays," Frates said via email. "Not just at PR Newswire or one of our competitors but across all news providers. Pickup of standard quarterly financial reporting or more marketing-focused content just isn't going to be the same during this period because so many people are on vacation."
All of which makes it a great time to sneak through news you would rather not see get too much attention, such as news releases about presidential pardons that make elected officials look bad:
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"When you send an important announcement out on
"You are hoping that no one will notice until January, at which point it's old news," he said.
Embarrassing government reports are a staple of the dark period, too.
When the mayor of
When then-U.S. Treasury Secretary
The dark period is also the season for celebrity breakups. When actors
Finding the best day to report bad news is an art, said
"This happened more when I was in government — something (is) promised to be released, so bury it on a Friday," he said.
Fridays before a holiday weekend are the best time for bad news for publicly traded companies, which are required to share information that could affect their earnings and shareholders. And no lull is longer than from Christmas to
"If your goal is Page C15, the Friday before Christmas may be your best shot," said
When Central African Gold released a disastrous and long-delayed report covering the first half of 2009, it chose to do so
"It's the season to be covering up bad news in the flurry of reindeer, lights and Santas," said
"So people will not know if you've been bad or good," he said. "And we can assume that
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