No More News!

I've had it. Up to my neck had it.... and now, unfortunately I've dragged some good friends into the fire too.

Because of my houseblog, I've been contacted a couple of times by news media - always regarding our demolition party. (I guess it's some sort of new fad sweeping the nation.) And I suppose I should have learned my lesson after the Wall Street Journal nearly blew it all out of proportion...

It's retarded. If you've never been interviewed for anything before - take it from me and avoid at all costs. I was on the phone with the WSJ for nearly 2 hours getting asked everything from "why I bought my house" to "what did you serve for lunch" And then, despite the fact that you just told this person half of your life story, she edits you down to maybe two quotes - two of the worst, most misleading quotes - the kind where you ask yourself, "Why did I say that?"

Why? Because you were freakin tired of talking and thinking after 2 hours on the phone.

With the WSJ, they were obsessed with the fact that somebody accidentally knocked the thermostat off the wall and turned it up to about 90. No big deal - we just realized it was getting really hot and Mike turned off the furnace all together. The reporter asked me question after question about this event - probably trying to get me to say something that she could use to indicate that we were all drunk and dangerous and disorderly. She even went so far as to interview Mike about it as well - but at this point, I could tell what she was doing and asked her not to include that part of the story in the article.

After that affair, I should have learned my lesson. And I did. WSJ later contacted me because WHDH in Boston had contacted them regarding doing a local version of the story. I elected not to do the WHDH story, and did not email the reporter.

But she showed up at my house anyway. And that was no surprise - I mean, if you look at my blog and google my name and all that, you can pretty much find my address. I don't make it easy, mind you, but it's not impossible.

And most of you all know what happened from there. I repeatedly said no. Then she got down on her hands and knees in my living room and begged me, especially after I had shown her my video footage from the party.

This was the most damming thing for me. She wanted to use my footage. And the thought of that kind of tickled me, so I said yes. That was my A1 mistake. A few days later she contacted me again and asked if a phone interview would be agreeable. I said yes, as a favor to her. I should have known better.

But I thought I covered all angles - I repeatedly said in the interview that no one was drunk - no one was even drinking until we were done, and even then it was really just because people were thirsty. Yes it said "get drunk and disorderly" on the invitation - but that was just for fun. I told her straight out, "I don't think I was even drinking at my own party - I was in charge of everyone - it was like a job site." And then I said, "The most important thing is to know your own friends, this kind of party isn't for everyone. It's not really about getting drunk as much as getting stuff done and then having a good time. And if your friends are all about getting wasted - maybe you shouldn't invite them." Or something like that - that was the way the whole interview went.

I talked about all our safety gear that we used and that we had a carpenter on hand to provide guidance. We even posted Ground Rules right in the front room of the house. And we had food and drinks out in the garage, out of the way. I wasn't about to put anyone in danger for god's sake!! And yes, demolition parties aren't for everyone and I wasn't offended that some people didn't want to come. No problem - not your thing, no big deal!

It's so easy to edit something into something it's not. And I of all people should be well aware of that. But I expect my colleagues to have some sort of ethics. In advertising, sometimes I'm forced to do something unethical because the client asks for it. But we always advise them not to. In news, you're not being forced to do anything. And to edit an interview and video to "match" your story is just downright sleeze. Your job is to report - not to edit something to fit into "your story"

And that right there ladies and gentlemen is the problem with news. And the thing is, I knew that. I knew that and I went ahead with everything anyway because I had stars in my eyes about my footage being on the air... which is just ridiculous, because my commercials are on the air all the time.

So once again, I've been slapped in the face, and so have several good friends who were awesome enough to come to my house and work for some food and beers tearing down my walls. It's an insult to them and all the hard work they did to help make my house what it is today. It wasn't fair of me to jeopardize them like that and I wish today that I could take it all back.

But I've learned my lesson this time. No more news. No thanks. No way. Not even if you beg and plead.


Jennifer said...

Too bad!