Monday, July 11, 2011

End of the World

They say that a week is a long time in politics, but in newspapers, last week will certainly go down in history as one of the most dramatic, for one particular UK tabloid newspaper.

What might this have to do with us 'ordinary' writers (apart from the obvious fact that phone hacking is illegal)? Well, last week wasn't just about the News of the World. It was the week the last space shuttle took off from Florida. And last week was also the world premiere of the last Harry Potter film. Last week, it seems, was a week of many 'lasts'.

What last week also demonstrated is that there is a need for the media to carry out 'obituaries' for all of these various things whose lives were coming to an end. So, when the news broke that the issue of the News of the World published on 10th July 2011 would be last one in its 168-year history, the media then produced a summary (or obituary) of the News of the World's highlights over that past 168 years.

The reports of the last Harry Potter premiere looked back over the previous premieres, including the first premiere, when a young Daniel Radcliffe in the first Harry Potter movie looked as though he was barely out of nappies! Nor did he look old enough to be wearing glasses!

And reviews of the space shuttle programme included a look back at the very first shuttle launch, as well as some of the tragic expeditions.

So, when you hear of a batteship being retired, or a popular service coming to an end, think of it as a potential idea for a market. Might a publication be interested in an account summarising it's life, looking back over its achievements and/or failures? Sometimes, such decisions are announced well in advance (such as the final space shuttle mission), giving writers plenty of time to carry out the research and approach suitable markets.

As the saying goes, when one door closes, another door opens.

Good luck.