Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Lesson Worth the Expense

Eric Clapton: No Roanoke appearance.^

It is not my habit, nor is it my goal to come to the defense of the local daily newspaper over its shortcomings, but a column from Managing Editor Michael Stowe this a.m. (here) explains how and why a blog post became an embarrassment. Frankly, I think Michael might be a smidge overwrought over an incorrect report--posted online briefly before being corrected--that Eric Clapton was to perform in Roanoke.

Reports of sightings and landings of celebrities are laughably common in the entertainment business (Willie Nelson at the Coffee Pot, George Jones at the Golden Horseshoe, Elton John at the Little Chef) and they are part of the fun of projecting, speculating and, well, entertaining. The news business sometimes takes itself a little too seriously and I think this is a case of it.

Apparently, according to Michael's column, music reporter Tad Dickens, was told by an insider, who would know these things, that Slow Hand had checked into a local hotel. The insider was joking. Dickens didn't tell him the joke was going public. That's one misunderstanding, one mistake, one bad post, one embarrassment. But get over it. Nobody was hurt (and, frankly, I don't even think credibility was damaged, since the post was removed and Dickens quickly threw up a mea culpa). Dickens learned something valuable. The source learned something. Michael learned something.

I'd say the paper got a pretty good deal with little cost.

Lessons are expensive (ask anybody with a school loan), but if they're learned, they're worth the expense.

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