Whenever the first snow falls, or the first hot day of summer strikes, or when the heat gives way to autumn's crisp air, or when the chill of winter finally breaks for spring, or just when there isn't shit happening in the world, the Paper of Record published one of its trademark "weather stories." This is not simply a report on the day's weather; it is a report on the day's weather masquerading as a news story.

Yesterday was a pretty nice day, in March. Hark! A Metro story blooms. All these stories follow a fairly straightforward formula. Pick a random day and write your own.

1. Tell the Person Reading the Newspaper Today How the Weather Was Yesterday (A Day That They Lived Through, and Which Is Over)

Many New Yorkers found themselves making a similar about-face on the first official day of spring, which arrived precisely at 1:14 a.m. and felt more like summer: The temperature hovered around a balmy 71 degrees in Central Park. Passing clouds added to the languor of the day.

2. Use Almost Farcically Florid Language to Describe Common Things, Like People Being Outside

There are hazards to working en plein air, of course... "It woke us up a little bit," Ms. Caswell, 25, of Hackensack, N.J., said of their business meeting amid beds of daffodils and stands of forsythia... There were times when the silken air, distant laughter and scent of spring flowers were at odds with the work itself.

3. Try and Fail to Find Any Quote That Might Spice Up This Dreary Undertaking

Not far away from Ms. Hess and Mr. Viswanath, a man in a striped shirt went over marketing strategies with a group of women, all of them sitting on a group of large stone blocks. "We thought it would be great scenery to help us tap into our creative juices," the man said, declining to give his name because of office policy.

That's about it, really. Just be sure to use the thesaurus page for "sunny" in spring, "hot" in summer, and "cold" in winter. Don't wanna mix those up.

Our condolences to the reporters involved. Send your editors a bottle of booze, maybe?

[NYT. Photo: David Berkowitz/ Flickr]