Welcome back to C8’s top stories of the month! This is our recurring blog where members of our team are invited to explore a story they found particularly interesting or ‘game-changing’ in the world of tech or surrounding areas.
In November, we explored a range of stories, from space travel and moon missions to anti-sponsorship and a journalist’s experimental day of yesses!
Read below and let us know what you think. What was your top story of November? Use #C8storytellers and explain why!
Natalie Young – PR Executive
Have you ever considered how much your emails are impacting the planet? Neither had I until I read about the carbon footprint of ‘thank you’ emails a few years ago. It was then that I learned the staggering fact that, if every UK email user refrained from sending one email a day, 16,433 tonnes of carbon emissions would be saved.
To put that into context, that is equivalent to 81,152 flights from London Heathrow to Madrid!
This is why I was particularly interested to read this story in the November edition of Computer Weekly. The author bandies around the best ways to ‘cool’ data, with options ranging from deep freezing data to submerging it under the Pacific Ocean. One of my personal favourite suggestions was to harness the heat as a cheap heating source (using this great example of Islington Council and Transport for London).
Our obsession with storing data means it’s imperative to solve this issue quickly, but let’s not drop the “thank you’s” – they might just have to be verbal where possible!
Liam Hodgson – PR Executive
This month I was captivated by the launch of Nasa’s Artemis rocket which, if all goes well, will take humans to the moon for the first time since 1972 – an amazing and exciting feat for the generations that have missed out on the spectacle of actual moonwalking.
What drew my attention even more to this story was the claim by a Nasa official that we may even see humans living on the moon for a prolonged period if the Artemis programme continues its success. What a jump this would be from not setting foot on the moon for over 50 years, to see humans living there this decade. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly.
Barriers to space travel and living will of course remain but, through the power of tech and science, we shall see what limits can be broken in the coming years.
John Vignaux – PR Executive
There is no doubt the Qatar World Cup is one of, if not the most, contentious ever with football taking a rightful backseat to more important conversations. In the world of PR, many steered clear, others took a stance, and some ignored the issues and supported the World Cup. BrewDog’s stance was somewhere in between, positioned in a murky grey area between a statement and what could be seen as making as much money as possible whilst taking a bold stance, aptly named “anti-sponsorship”.
BrewDog’s “anti-sponsorship” has caused a stir, but is this a bad thing? I somewhat rashly jumped to the conclusion it was, but after reading Alex Wilson’s article in The Drum, I couldn’t help but agree with him. It might not be the most polished, tidy, or clean-cut campaign but does it need to be? Is it really that bad? Have a read, maybe it will convert you too.
Megan Mackintosh – Senior PR Executive
My story of the month is a long read, but worthwhile. Slate culture writer Dan Kois wrote about his “Day of Yes”, in which he accepted all PR pitches for one day only. It’s a funny, well-written article that can be exceptionally scathing at times, but there is a lot to learn from his experience.
As the recipient of these routine pitches, Dan writes about his surprise at enjoying many of the interviews that he would typically have rejected; likely due to time constraint and strict ideas of what is newsworthy. However, the most important lesson is for PR: be discerning. Ensure that your press targets are as relevant as possible and treat all press opportunities with due diligence.
Dan puts it best, “some conscientious publicists asked me what kind of story I was working on. I told them the truth: I was responding to every single pitch I got, to see what kinds of interesting people I’d meet. Many of those publicists never wrote me back again. Good for them! They did the curatorial, image-protecting work you hope you’d get from a public relations professional.”
Jim Pople – PR Director
Like Liam, I was captivated by the launch of Artemis 1 on 16th November. As someone who takes an avid interest in the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s, I quickly appreciated – from a considerable distance – the sheer technological effort required to get the first unmanned mission of Artemis off the ground (pun definitely intended). With the Space Launch System’s natural predecessor, the Saturn V, still considered one of the most complicated machines ever made, the mind boggles at the complexity of building and testing millions of components, including the conical Orion capsule, with another half-century of technological advancements added in.
With two previous launch attempts scrubbed earlier in the year prior to launch, it serves as a reminder that not even the technological and financial might of NASA/the US Government gets it right first time. With social media and wall-to-wall coverage of everything Artemis, we’re now truly able to understand the difficulty of flinging rockets out of Earth’s orbit and towards a satellite that feels so close that we could reach out and touch it.
At the time of writing, let’s hope it’s not all for nothing when Artemis 1 faces its sternest test – re-entry!
Michelle Hatcher – Associate Director
My story of the month has to be this one: last year, more than 3,000 swimmers in distress were rescued off the UK coast by Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguards, but, tragically, there were also more than 100 accidental deaths.
It’s a worst nightmare, being lost in open water miles away from land. But this month, in South Wales, a trial drone has been successfully tested that could help save lives out at sea, faster, without lifeguards even setting foot off dry land. The IP67 waterproof rated drone can not only fly but also float on water, and operate in the most difficult of situations, even stormy weather. Its hidden secret to saving lives in the water is a payload mechanism which can carry a buoyancy aid, keeping swimmers as safe as possible until human intervention arrives. Its waterproof camera can accurately send back images of the swimmer to give the crew as much detail as possible to shave precious minutes off rescue times.
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