May I wish you all a rather belated Happy New Year!
It's great to be back with you every Monday, bringing you all the news relevant to the UK professional turfcare industry. We'll be with you throughout 2018, every Monday lunchtime, with a round-up of the latest stories.
As a bit of fun today, you'll find a rundown of our Top Ten most read stories during 2017 on this TurfPro Weekly Briefing. Although to be honest, 'fun' isn't particularly the word which springs to mind when looking down the list of news items which made the cut.
On the whole most of the list makes for fairly grim reading. Sackings, vandalism, complaints and injuries make up the majority of the Top Ten. To be honest the only truly positive story is the one regarding Man Utd winning the Premier League grounds team of the year - and that only just sneaked in, taking the 10th position!
It's difficult to be surprised by these findings though. I guess it's kind of obvious that people on the whole are interested in news which veers into the more dramatic or unusual.
There is also scientific research which apparently proves that we're all more predisposed to be fascinated by bad news. The impressively lengthy job titled Stuart Soroka who is (deep breath) the Michael W. Traugott Collegiate Professor of Communication Studies and Political Science, and Faculty Associate in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan (phew!) has written a paper called News, Politics and Negativity which asks why people pay more attention to bad news rather than positive news?
His findings suggest "that negative news content, in comparison with positive news content, tends to increase both arousal and attentiveness." He says that news content is predominantly negative because humans tend to be more attentive to negative information.
Professor Soroka does however question whether this fascination in all things bad, is in fact harmful? He says, "Focusing on negative information may be a perfectly reasonable way of managing a complex news environment."
He goes on to explain that if we don't know about the bad things going on around us, we won’t be armed with enough information to make the requisite changes we need to protect ourselves from such events effecting us in the future.
I like to think there is always plenty of good news stories each week in TurfPro. It is a positive and thriving industry that we cover and the content included does reflect that.
But equally we mustn't shy away from reporting on the events which occur in our sector which are less than ideal. It's both understandable and proven by clever scientists that those will end up the most read of the year.
Who knows what the industry has in store for 2018? What might occur which ends up becoming our most opened stories this time next year? We have BTME coming up in a couple of weeks which always kicks off the year with some interesting developments.
It will of course, as ever be a fascinating and unexpected ride. And just maybe, with my optimistic hat on for a moment, it could be a wholly positive story which claims that coveted number one spot next January!