Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Big Story

Who would have thought that the biggest story that I've worked on this year would have started out by us killing the story because we discovered it wasn't true.

Last week I was shown this video at work that was on YouTube where a Rick Astley impersonator interrupted a women's basketball game at Eastern Washington. I noticed that the guy that made the video was from EWU, so I e-mailed him via his myspace page and asked him if he'd do an interview about the Prank. He said sure and we set it up for Thursday afternoon.

I got a call from my reporter Anthony and he said he thought the senior film student might not be telling us the entire truth about the video. The student told him that the prank happened during a timeout in the middle of the game and it interrupted game play. Anthony talked to campus security and they couldn't remember the event ever taking place.

I tracked down the down the women's basketball coach and called her at home. She told me that nothing like I described ever happened at that game between them and Montana State. While Anthony was out working on another story for a different show, the student dropped off a high res copy of the video. I watched it closer than I had before and could tell that there was some creative editing done there.

Anthony and I went to our news director and we told him our concerns. He said kill the story, and we did.

Then Monday morning the New York Times came out and this happened.

So now the story we killed becomes the story of how a young filmmaker pranked the New York Times.

The story has gone national and had all the blogs and some news sites buzzing today. The New York Times even printed a retraction today.

This business is weird.


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