One of the traps those of us in the news media can fall into is the belief that everyone listens to our newscasts, watches our reports or reads our articles. I was reminded of that this weekend when I heard about the people that showed up at Menominee Park Thursday night expecting the annual Oshkosh fireworks display--totally unaware the show was scheduled for Friday night.
I know that WOSH aired stories on the date change all the way back in April--when City Manager Mark Rohloff first announced the different date. We also had stories about the July 5th fireworks all last week. At least two of the Green Bay TV stations also ran stories last week about the change in date. They also had Oshkosh listed under July 5th show dates on their websites. And the local newspapers had stories on the different date in their print and on-line versions. Sawdust Days mentioned the Friday fireworks on all of their marketing materials and website--and the City itself had it on its webpage.
Yet, there was one woman who showed up on the 4th quoted in a story saying that she had "heard nothing" about the fireworks being on the 5th instead of the 4th. She had even invited friends up from Illinois to watch the show--and it turned out there was nothing to see. She went on to wonder why the city "didn't do more to get the word out."
Now the ONLY place you would have seen the Oshkosh fireworks listed as being on July 4th would have been the outside of grocery bags at Festival Foods. And that was because someone at City Hall forgot to let their main sponsors know about the date change before all those bags went to print. (I'm not sure how Rick VanderLoop was kept out of the loop on that.) One would think that the people putting up half the money for the show would get a courtesy call to let them know when that show was actually going to happen.
What I would hope comes from this mass confusion is the realization that those of us who complain about Low Information Voters--or Uninformed Voters--are given a little more credit from now on. Because if people can't find out the correct date for a fireworks show, how can they be expected to research and understand the economic impact of required health insurance or huge Federal deficits?
Although, I would recommend the candidates and third-party special interest groups consider spending more of their hundreds of millions of dollars on ads printed on grocery bags--that is apparently the most trusted source of news and information for some of the voters.