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F****** blogs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Gator, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    So I have to blow off a little steam here. Learn through a local "news" blog, citing "multiple informed sources," that Major Event is coming to my town. I get on the horn immediately. I call a local city councilor in the know. She tells me there are talks, essentially rendering the blog report erroneous, but can't go on record. Directs me to Local Club President.

    After two days, I finally get him on the phone. He says it's not a done deal, again, rendering blog report erroneous, but warns that a story might jeopardize said event from coming. We make a deal. When he knows something, I'm the first person he calls. He won't call Big State Daily or National Paper. I don't feel great about it, but it's the only way I can get a major player on the record. Call me old school, but I won't go with "multiple informed sources." It's just not that important to me because, if this event does come to my neck of the woods, I don't want to sully the relationship with Local Club President. We'll be working together quite a bit.

    All this being said, if Major Event does end up coming here, it looks like we got beat by a blog that took a chance. Even though I did things the right way, it's going to look like that report (which has been picked up and retweeted by National Golf Writer) was the first one out there. I want to report what I know, but I'm walking a fine line with an eye toward the future.

    It just bugs me. Sorry about all the ambiguity, if you were able to keep up with all of this.
  2. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Who called the blogger?

    So these things are inevitable. Part of the way the business works. In a sense, yeah, you did get beat if it comes to pass, and, if it doesn't come to pass, there will be no consequences for the blog. It stinks. It's a crappy part of the business. It's even worse when national golf writers pick up any nugget they can and tweet it along.

    At any rate, someone told this blog this event was going to happen. It didn't come from nowhere. So, when you talk to city councilwoman and local club president, you tell them: This has already been reported by a blog, it has already been retweeted by a national golf writer, and there is already a leak of the news, so if the event is "jeopardized," it will have already been so by the other report.

    In other words: Don't let them use your legitimacy as a way of hurting your ability to report. Chances are, when said big event "officially" is announced, National Golf Writer, who now knows it's coming, will report it about 20 minutes before it is announced. You'll still lose.

    So, IMO, next time, just be blunt: Sorry, XYZ reported this, if they're wrong, tell me so, and I'll quote you. If they're not, let's talk about the event. If you're in talks, I'll report that.

    And then see what they do.
  3. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    I told him this, verbatim. He just didn't care. And as you mentioned, I think he used the legitimacy of the newspaper against me. He even said he had heard of National Golf Writer and didn't care. He was adamant that he wasn't saying anything on record. I attempted to level with him the best I could, but just got stonewalled. Blogger is friendly with Area Tourism Guy, who probably leaked it out. Not sure who the other "multiple sources" could be. But you know, at this point, I'm going to have to live with what is. I put my faith in Local Club President and hope he sticks to his word. This was certainly a learning experience, though. Next time, I'll be more straighforward.
  4. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Call Area Tourism Guy, then.

    Point is, you want whomever you think leaked it to think that you know that they leaked it, which perhaps gives them pause next time.

    Call up area tourism guy and tell him straight out: Well, Local Golf Guy wouldn't tell me, so I thought I'd ask you.

    Not to be rude to bloggers, but they tend to prefer reaping the rewards of a scoop like that without bearing any responsibility, which is to say: Sometimes, they don't like being taken seriously. The best thing you can do to a blogger is not to feed their inferiority complex, but treat them like they beat you and do your due diligence to retrace their steps. When you do that, you announce to their sources "hey, each time blogger breaks something, I'm following up, so your skin is in the game." And then, sources don't talk so much to blogs.

    I know it seems counter-intuitive, but our culture still tends to take the newspaper seriously on a level it does not online only outlets or talk radio. Once you elevate those other sources, they get less gossipy - fast - because their sources are being hounded by the newspaper anyway.
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    You seem to be taking the angle that the initial blog report was wrong. Was it? Or does the blog just have a better and/or more cooperative source than you do?

    Personally I wouldn't put a lot of stock in the club president's denial that it's a done deal. Organizations like these usually want to control the release of their information. He could be pulling your leg because they have a big press conference hubbub scheduled to announce it and don't want to take the wind out of their own sails.
    sgreenwell likes this.
  6. JohnHammond

    JohnHammond Well-Known Member

    If a blog's scoop jeopardizes a "major event" coming to town, the event wasn't "major" in the first place.
    Doc Holliday likes this.
  7. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    I can remember at least three times a source told me if I did a story on something, it could jeopardize it actually happening, the most egregious of them being the hiring of a coach. All three times I did the story anyway. All three times the event/hiring/whatever happened anyway.

    LTL and Hammond are right. They want to control when the news is announced, and if your article can jeopardize it, it likely wasn't going to happen anyway.
  8. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    According to Club President, yes it was wrong. And it's certainly plausible that he is pulling my leg to control the amount of information that was released. Yup, this was a learning process, and I really do hope that the Club President is on the level and keeps his word, like I've kept mine. As mentioned, we have a long relationship ahead of us if this event does, in fact, occur.
  9. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    Also, is it bad that I wish this event doesn't come here simply for the fact that I want be proven right in holding off? Probably doesn't matter because blogs only matter if they find a needle in a haystack.
  10. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    What kind of blog is it that it has so much importance in your area or connections to people who would know? I understand if you don't want to say because it might reveal the event you are talking about. It's just that where I am, there really isn't a blog not associated with a news organization that would have any significance.
  11. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Frankly, it's time you report it. You've got numerous sources admitting it's in the works. You don't have to name them. And like the others have said, the blog reported it first so it sure as hell isn't your fault if it falls apart. Follow up with tourism guy that seems to like to run his trap to the blogger. Then write your story and run with it. These people are screwing you over. If you're going to sit there and take it, then don't blame the damn blogger. Blame yourself.
    Riptide and sgreenwell like this.
  12. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Honeymoon's over with that club president, too. Business is business, etc.
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