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Your 2008 Public Relations Calendar

As I’ve done each year for the past several years, I am closing out the current year by publishing a “print and save” public relations calendar for the upcoming year. In this issue you’ll find calendar listings for holidays and observances, major political and sporting events, as well as a list of anniversaries being celebrated — or simply remembered — in 2008.

The purpose of the calendar is to ensure that PR professionals are aware of important events that may drive the news cycle. The calendar is also a handy planning tool, allowing PR professionals ample time to get pitches and campaigns ready.

The news cycle in the United States in 2008 will, no doubt, be dominated by the presidential election. The action starts just after the page turns on the calendar with the Iowa Caucus and concludes a little more than eleven months later with the general election. Winter will be dominated by the primaries, while late summer brings the national political party conventions.

China will also be a major source of news next year, thanks to its hosting of the Summer Olympic Games in August. The sporting world will most likely continue to be a focus of the media as baseball sorts out its drug issues, the Daytona 500 is run for the fiftieth time, the New England Patriots make a run at perfection and Yankee Stadium sees its final game.

Planning around the news cycle based on scheduled events is a wise move, but there is no way of knowing what unscheduled news will transpire. The implosion of the subprime mortgage market and the related credit crunch had been predicted for years by many, but no one knew exactly when it would hit. Likewise, forecasts called for an intense hurricane season in 2007 and nothing much happened on that front.

Looking forward to 2008, the best advice I can give is to be prepared and to stay on your toes. My own experience in 2007 proved to me that the news cycle is its own beast and can quickly change or even foil public relations plans.

Holidays and Observances

– New Year’s Day (January 1st)
– Martin Luther King Day (January 21st)
– Groundhog Day (February 2nd)
– Ash Wednesday (February 6th)
– Chinese New Year (February 7th – Year of the Rat)
– Valentine’s Day (February 14th)
– President’s Day (February 18th)
– St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th)
– Good Friday (March 21st)
– Easter Sunday (March 23rd)
– Passover (April 20th)
– Mother’s Day (May 11th)
– Memorial Day (May 26th)
– Father’s Day (June 15th)
– Independence Day (July 4th)
– Labor Day (September 1st)
– Ramadan (September 1st to September 30th)
– Rosh Hashana (September 30th)
– Yom Kippur (October 9th)
– Columbus Day (October 13th)
– Halloween (October 31st)
– Veteran’s Day (November 11th)
– Thanksgiving (November 28th)
– Hannukah (December 21st to December 29th)
– Christmas Eve (December 24th)
– Christmas (December 25th)
– Kwanzaa (December 26th)
– New Year’s Eve (December 31st)

Political Events

– Iowa Caucus (January 3rd)
– New Hampshire Primary (January 8th)
– “Super-Duper Tuesday” – 23 states hold primary elections
(February 5th)
– Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado (August
25th to August 28th)
– Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota
(September 1st to September 4th)
– U.S. presidential election (November 4th)

Sports Events

– Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona (February 3rd)
– Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida (February 17th –
50th running)
– Men’s NCAA Basketball Final Four in San Antonio, Texas
(April 5th to April 7th)
– 2008 Summer Olympic Games in China (August 8th to August
24th)
– Last game at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York (TBD)

100th Anniversary

– First ball drop in Times Square occurs on New Year’s Day.
– First large-scale celebration of Mother’s Day.
– Thomas Selfridge becomes the first human to die in an
airplane crash.
– Ford introduces the Model T.
– Bureau of Investigation, predecessor of the FBI, is
created.

50th Anniversary

– Discovery of the Van Allen Radiation Belt.
– The “peace symbol” is created by Gerald Holtom.
– National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is
created.
– Baby Boom ends. (Birth rates begin to decline the
following year.)

30th Anniversary

– The Computerized Bulletin Board System, the first online
bulletin board system, is created by Ward Christensen.
– Camp David Accords signed – precursor to peace between
Egypt and Israel.
– Followers of cult leader Jim Jones commit mass
suicide/murder in Jonestown, Guyana.

25th Anniversary

– Sally Ride becomes the first American woman to travel into
space.
– United States invades Grenada.
– Bill is signed declaring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a
federal holiday.
– McDonald’s introduces the Chicken McNugget.

20th Anniversary

– Perestroika begins in the Soviet Union.
– Iran-Iraq War ends after nine years of fighting; over one
million lives lost.
– Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland;
Libyan terrorists later implicated.

10th Anniversary

– Monica Lewinsky scandal.
– Apple Computer introduces the iMac.
– Google is founded.
– Hedge fund Long-Term Capital collapses, creating crisis.
– Murder of Matthew Shepard raises issue of homophobia and
gay-bashing in the public sphere.

5th Anniversary

– United States and coalition partners invade Iraq, ending
reign of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party.
– First case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is
diagnosed in Hanoi, Vietnam.
– Blackout hits Northeast United States and South-Central
Canada, plunging 50 million people into darkness.

This article, written by Ben Silverman, originally appeared in PR Fuel (http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel), a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.

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