Drake, Balloon Boy, and an Apology

Our busiest day of traffic on this website was driven by a story that has turned out, to this point, not to be of any importance.

That’s sad and I apologize for causing fear that Drake would not perform at Syracuse University.

I had the exclusive news that a Drake concert in Lowell, Mass. was canceled. (I only got it because I’m from the town next door, and I saw my buddy’s Facebook status. He works at the Tsongas Center and he got a call from his boss telling him it was canceled because of a vocal problem.) It was one day before the SU show. Why is that news? Because it means the SU show might be canceled, too. (Turns out it’s not, apparently. We’ll get to that.) So what do you do? Do you post the info about the cancelation in Massachusetts? Or do you wait for news on the status of the SU show?

I decided not to wait. And while I ended up with a little egg on my face, I would have made the same decision to post again. I reported on the ULowell situation while I waited for someone, anyone, to respond. But hey. Sometimes they pan out and you’re the first with exclusive news. Sometimes you end up with egg on your face. Like Balloon Boy.

Except Balloon Boy was much worse. News organizations across the country reported as fact that a young boy named Falcon was flying away in what looked a Jiffy Pop container. This was based on what a couple of star-craved lunatic terrible parents had said. He was in their home the whole time.

In my case, I posted what I knew, and waited for UU comment. There’s nothing in my story that was untrue. Even the assertion that this turn of events could put his performance in jeopardy was true, because it stands to reason that if you’re too sick to sing on Thursday you might be too sick to sing on Friday.

Now, obviously it’s the job of any reporter to confirm what we think we know, and that’s exactly what I tried to do. I called the Lowell, Mass. venue first and had the cancelation in Massachusetts confirmed. Then I went to the artist’s talent agency, the concert organizers, and University Union officials, and even went and knocked on their office door, and got nothing. I even blasted an e-mail off to the Kevins—Quinn and Morrow—and still nothing.

So I reported what I knew at that time, because I wasn’t going to wait around when news is happening. That’s the beast of online journalism. What I reported still stands the truth test—kind of. But it turns out it caused unnecessary panic, because Drake is apparently still going to perform at SU, though I am hoping for some laryngitis to help me save face.

What could have prevented this? A comment from UU. Which I didn’t get. But of course, I open my Daily Orange this morning and what do I see? A comment from UU.

If University Union officials want to play fair, they’ll answer a reporter’s request for comment, no matter what the publication, if that publication has information that is being read widely and directly affects them. Ultimately, a lot of SU students were misled. It could have been prevented with a simple phone call, which, for reasons that I don’t understand other than we-only-talk-to-The-Daily Orange snobbery, I never received.

In fact, the only thing I’ve received to this point, today, an entire day later, is a rather pointed e-mail telling me that my complaints to a UU spokeswoman about ignoring my requests for comment are unfounded and that I’m rude.

And to that, I say: I’m graduating May. Flame on, bridges.

What do you think? Would you have waited? Or would you have posted?

–Brian Amaral

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9 thoughts on “Drake, Balloon Boy, and an Apology”

  1. Sure there’ll be an uproar but suing someone for pulling out of a show for HEALTH REASONS? Even in our fucked up litigious nation there’s gotta be a line drawn somewhere

  2. Not a shot he won’t come. Drake’s fan base is of College age and he has a sold out Carrier Dome waiting for him. He would lose the fans that he holds closest to his heart, College students with relatively disposable income that are involved in social media and are most likely to attend a show and maybe even buy an album. He’ll be here.

  3. Probably got something from kissing that damn stripper. It’s not like anyone is going to be sober enough to care how he performs. But I don’t like Drake that much and I was waiting until this concert to see if his swag will change my mind…if he cancels ill just assume hes a p whipped stripper loving mediocre studio only rapper.

  4. I have no idea who this Drake guy is. But to answer your question: you did your job, and your post on what went down explains clearly why you did what you did. Seems to me you were responsible and appropriately aggressive, without going beyond what you could confirm.

  5. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn anything like this before. So nice to search out any individual with some authentic ideas on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this web site is something that is needed on the net, somebody with somewhat originality. helpful job for bringing something new to the web!

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