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Name bomb: Weather bureau is having an identity crisis

The Bureau of Meteorology is weathering its own storm in response to an unexpected decision to change its nickname.

Oct 18, 2022, updated Oct 19, 2022
Bureau staff at its Melbourne headquarters. (Image: The Bureau)

Bureau staff at its Melbourne headquarters. (Image: The Bureau)

The national weather forecaster has asked media outlets to stop referring to it by its longstanding household nickname “the BoM”, or “the Weather Bureau”.

Instead, it wants to be called “the Bureau” at second reference, in line it says with the 1955 Meteorology Act.

“With an ever-increasing number of severe weather events, it is more crucial than ever that the Bureau of Meteorology’s insights, wisdom, data and information are shared, understood and acted upon,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

“To support this need, the Bureau of Meteorology asks that media outlets update editorial style to ensure references to the organisation are by its full name, the Bureau of Meteorology or the Bureau for short, and not BOM or the Weather Bureau.”

Federal Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek said she is not focused on the rebrand amid ongoing flood and weather disasters and the decision came under the directions of the former government.

“I am focused on making sure the Bureau of Meteorology is providing the most accurate and timely information to communities affected by floods,” she said in a statement.

“The rebrand commenced under the previous government for reasons I don’t quite understand.”

The contract for the Bureau’s rebranding was awarded to The C Word Communications Agency and signed in September of 2021 for $69,300.

The Bureau of Meteorology also announced it would change its Twitter handle to @TheBureau_Au with new variations, such as @TheBureau_NSW for each state and territory.

The changes have created a hailstorm on social media where users responded with jokes, outrage or approval.

Australian Rules Football club Carlton FC joined in on the action with a reference to one of their stars Tom De Koning.

“We no longer want Tom De Koning to be called “TDK” … Please refer to him either as “Koning” or “The Tom”. Thanks in advance,” the club said on Twitter.

Satirical comedy group the chaser also weighed in.

“We used to beg media to call us The Chaser rather than their preferred names of The Chasers, The Chaser Boys, The Chaser Team, or worst of all Those Cheeky Chaps from The Chaser,” they tweeted.

However, it later emerged that all of the Bureau of Meteorology’s intended handles were either already taken or had been snatched within an hour of the changes being announced.

Twitter user Keelan, whose handle is @TheBureau_NSW wrote: “Absolute rookie mistake by the Bureau of Meteorology to announce what they were changing their Twitter handle to BEFORE they actually did it.”

The organisation’s intended @TheBureau_Vic handle was set up by a user on Tuesday morning.

The user has named the account “BOM Vic” and included a link to a private account on online payment website Venmo.

A user with the @TheBureau_Qld handle tweeted on Tuesday: “Weather looks okay”.

There’s also uncertainty about whether the forecaster will change the name of its BOM Weather app and official website.

AAP has sought comment from the Bureau of Meteorology about the changes.

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