Saturday, December 29, 2007

What Do You Do When The Rumors Are Wrong?

Rumor starts to run that Mike Conley was trying to be, or was, Darren McFadden's agent. They were spread far and wide. Those darn internets at work again against Arkansas? Well, it spread on the internet, but what do you do when it's the traditional media?

Within 24 hours, hardly any of the details stood up to scrutiny. Some of them should have been obvious from the get-go. Former Razorback track star Conley is not registered with the NFL, working instead the NBA for his son and friends. He hasn't lived in Fayetteville in years, and by all accounts was in Chicago the past week.

The car first came from a dealership in Fayetteville that didn't sell the brand. Then it changed to a correct dealership, but in Little Rock. It was registered to his mom. Then his step-mom.

ESPN bit, and sunk the hook deep because of "multiple" media sources reporting the troubles. Problem is, two of the stations are really one when it comes to the hybrid combined sports department.

Much time has been spent decrying the blogger, the new media, the citizen journalist; but this was at best a two source -- more likely one source -- story that the media began to multiply without a lot of time spent on verification. That is a fact that one TV station in its apology and retraction has admitted as much.

Reminds of the multiple coaches hired by Arkansas -- men's basketball and football -- reported by media thanks to unnamed sources. Being first appears to have completely overtaken being right.

And how was this behavior any different from the folks who blindly post rumors on line? At least on this one, it's hard to see it.

The story isn't over, and it still could turn out with McFadden missing the bowl. That would be a tragic outcome for the media. What would be remembered is that taking a chance on a rumor -- and getting almost all the key supporting facts wrong or severely twisted -- led to a scoop.

New Hampshire Travel Notes

One spare day to take a little time off . . .

The one good thing that comes from an all-day flight thanks to a "mechanical" 'ed first flight, a lying series of airline managers and a redirect to Vermont was stumbling onto Art's in Burlington. Anyplace that sells frys (note the spelling) by the cut, pine or quart should be good, and indeed Art's lives up with the closet thing to In-and-Out french fries. They obviously are using fresh spuds cut on the site and properly fried up. And the pepper burger wasn't bad either.

The Red Arrow in Manchester is far hipper, much edgier and quite small compared to the piece on Food Network. Don't miss it, and maybe you took can sit in the booth where BareNakedLadies sat.

Basketball Hall of Fame -- another must see if you are a hoopster, but there are some disturbing little errors (letter soon enroute to BHOF -- one preview, the Supreme Court can't pass legislation [it reviewed the Nixon administration's legislation on Title IX]).

And, it was great taking in a 70 contacts in a single hour in the studio at ARRL. By the way, for the guy in Florida who took the time to CALL and complain about the signal, sir, the ARRL tech did check, and you were the only one in 70 folks to have splatter. Thanks to you for ruining the day for those other 69 folks who were just happy to get a contact from W1Aw.

Game day tomorrow

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wii're Having Fun Now

OK, another post off the beaten path, but Nintendo scores again with Wii. The wife surprised all with snagging one for Christmas, and the games are -- well, something you must experience. One media colleague said that his staffer's poker night has now degenerated into a Wii bowling league. Another of my former students who works for one of the major game companies admitted that initially they put very little in resources into the platform, but now it is second only to XBox360 -- forget PlayStation.

What caught my eye today was setting up the wireless, which opened up a weather and news channel. This is iPhone for the home TV. Sure, the selection is highly filtered for a national audience, but I was on top of the mauling tiger before anyone else in my circle; plus I even found a story related to my field -- more later on the feature on the director of the sports security group at Southern Miss. My son could get EPL scores. My wife can get weather easier than our DirecTV setup (which is the one thing she regrets of terrestrial cable).

In the constant battle for content, wonder what it takes to create a channel on Wii? The Razorback Channel goes Wii, hmm?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Feliz Navidad for Mexican Coca-Cola

This is decidedly off topic, but I've rediscovered a bit of my youth with imported Mexican Coca-Cola. I've had friends that went out of their way to find Mexican Dr. Pepper, or kosher Dr. Pepper, claiming that the cane sugar product was that much better than the domestic high fructose corn syrup.

There was a story in one of the local Sunday papers about this import, and how much fans were saying it tasted like the Coke of their youth. Predictably, the official spokesperson said there was no difference in taste at all.

This reminded me of the infamous New Coke fiasco. I was working at my first job as a reporter, and noted in my column how much I disliked the new Coke and once we ran out of the Real Thing would be switching to Nehi Grape. If you didn't know, Monroe was the town in which the first Coke bottle was used to produce by a bottler, and the Biedenharns were not amused. They came down on the publisher, and he came down on us. We were forced to do a blind taste test to "prove" that we couldn't tell the difference. After the third time of getting it right -- telling New Coke from Real -- the Coke reps finally gave up and the publisher got off our case.

So after paying quite a premium price for a case of Mexican bottled Coke at the local Sam's, I was a little curious if there was something to the old cane sugar formula. Oh. My. I'm sorry to tell you that you can't get Mexican Coke outside of Texas and Arkansas unless you find it through a third-party reseller. Guess why? Yep. To protect the local bottlers.

As Ferris said, if you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thank You Pat Forde

Certainly the genius of a 10:30 PM press conference to reveal Bobby Petrino as the next Razorback football coach was revealed by the full house and the 24-hour news cycle nce of Arkansas football.

It did become the classic "just-spell-my-name-write" publicity as the national media hammered both Petrino and Arkansas. But for the last day, you could not escape the Razorbacks.

The hire of an aggressive coach like Petrino was set to unite the Razorback Nation, and the near universal reaction by fan sites, bloggers and general fans was positive. The Arkansas fans are ready to unite and head forward.

Enter Pat Forde. I single him out only because he's been quite vocal with his issues over Petrino. OK, they have history. Forde does us a tremendous favor. Make all the fun you want, but this is the South. Speaking globally, I can call my coach a SOB, but by god, just like my brother, sister, cousin, mother, father, YOU can't say that about my family.

Meanwhile, my favorite blogger post: For coaches, the NFL is a stepping stone to the SEC. Think about it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Facebook Disasters

Beacon, the advertising delivery platform in Facebook, has a dark side. As it harvests your sales information, it can mate that with your friend lists and use that to target others. Fine, as long as your purchases are those that you want to share with friends.

Think that new commercial with the voice activated MP3 player in the car that gives up the embarrassing info that you have Michael Bolton in your artists. Except all your friends without your permission know you just bought MB's greatest hits. An alert -- hey, Dr. BS just purchased MB's greatest hits -- with the hope that your friends will want to join in with your trend.

More likely, things you don't want others to know are revealed. From the , the gift you just bought your significant other is outed. To the creepy, that the gift came from Frederick's, and perhaps you have a liking for French Maid outfits.

Remember, you volunteered for this when you signed up for the SNWs. Ooh la la.

Friday, December 07, 2007

No, You Didn't

While the world turns in the pursuit of a new Razorback football coach . . .

This just in from the Facebook world. Penn State students busted out for photos of a relatively tasteless Halloween party themed on Virginia Tech victim costumes.

One of the students caught in the story, of course, puts the blame on the system. "They were suppose to be private," he says. How many times does it have to happen for people to understand there is no such thing as "private" once it appears in the server farms of others.

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