Email: I Got it Wrong (?)
When blogging and writing, I’m careful about reporting the facts. I double and triple check my facts before publishing and when in doubt, I won’t include something if I can’t verify it 100 percent.
Last Friday I wrote an article about History Channel’s Pawn Stars making an appearance at a pawn shop in Port Charlotte, Fla., (Oct. 11, 2013: Editor’s note – the article is no longer active on Suite101.) over the weekend. I was at the event Friday. I spoke with the publicist, the shop owner’s wife and one of the stars. My facts were right.
Sunday night I received an email from an upset person who read my article and drove more than 70 miles to have his item appraised by Rick “The Spotter” Harrison and sell it to the pawn shop. According to the email, when he arrived, he waited more than hour in line and the item was appraised by the pawn shop. He was told “The Spotter” was not allowed to appraise items. He ended up selling the item to one of the shop owners. He was upset that I wrote the stars were appraising items saying it was not true.
Who Was Right?
Well, that’s not true. “The Spotter” did appraise, in an Antiques Roadshow-type of way. He was not brought into town to purchase items for the shop but for a meet and greet with fans and raise awareness of pawn shops.
Other media outlets were told and reported items were being appraised so I did not get it wrong. Plus, if there was more than an hour wait in line (and it was hot that day), perhaps appraisals were halted in order to ensure everyone got to meet the Pawn Stars.
Working in hospitality, I know arguing is pointless, especially when it comes to email, so I replied saying I was sorry he didn’t have his item appraised and that I and other media outlets were told items were being appraised.
This incident has triggered two hot buttons with me, disappointment and truth in reporting.
Disappointment – The Sarah Palin Incident
I have had my share of disappoint because of believing what I read. There was the Sarah Palin incident in October 2008. In short, I believed what the Florida Republican Party told me – if I had a ticket to see Sarah Palin, I would get in to see possibly the first female vice president of the United States (read full post at opens in a new windowQuirkyKitschGirl.com).
I took off a half-day of work, I drove for an hour, stood in line for an hour in hotter-than-Haiti heat and was denied access. To say I was disappointed was an understatement.
When Sarah made a return trip to Florida, I double checked the procedure to see her. It meant waking up at 5 a.m. and waiting in line for four hours, but I did it.
Disappointment – The Stephen King Incident
The other big disappointment was the November 2005 trip to New York to attend the New Yorker Book Festival. I was hoping to meet Stephen King and have a book signed.
I followed the directions as posted on the festival website but what they did not post was that free tickets for the event were required and had to be picked up the night prior. I was in flight when the tickets were distributed. Needless to say, I was very disappointed to have flown from Florida to New York (cashed out my miles for the flight), flipped the bill for a room at the YMCA Hotel (which really wasn’t bad), only to be several feet away from the King of Horror without the opportunity of meeting him. ( opens in a new windowRead more at QuirkyKitschGirl.com)
Truth in Media: Does Anyone Care?
Nothing burns my chaps more than reading misinformation. Usually, I don’t know I’m reading wrong information however working in publicity, I have read more articles with wrong information than articles with correct information about the destination I represent. Oh, things may be minor like the misspelling of a town or destination’s history, but it’s still wrong.
This has gotten me thinking, how much wrong information is the media circulating? Is this a result of publications downsizing and eliminating editors who fact check? Is it the growth of citizen journalism and quest to make a quick buck on the Internet? Does anyone else care this is happening? Or have we become so lackadaisical we will believe and reward anything fed to us?
My advice: if you’re reading something and really interested in participating, do your homework. Things change or sometimes the writer gets it wrong.