Late Friday afternoon, after exchanging emails with an assignment editor, KSDK reporter Ashley Yarchin came to Punching Kitty headquarters to do a story about our recent post “Craigslist: Anyone Seen the Cardinals Team We Had in April?” and in turn, Punching Kitty the blog.
Once setting up all the one-man-show reporter gear in our office we talked on camera about when I started Punching Kitty, what its about, then specifically about the Craigslist post followed by a dramatic reading of my posting. I mentioned the name of the site several times, we positioned shots so that the logo and name were on screen and when she left I gave her a sticker. Below is the piece KSDK aired Friday night during their 10 pm broadcast. Watch it like you don’t read this site and then see if you know where to go to find more of my writing…
Not one freaking mention. The first thing everyone has asked me about this was “Why didn’t you mention the name of the site?” Oh I did. I did indeed. Not only that, but there was some pretty impressive editing to get out all the environmental mentions in my office. My two monitors were filled with Punching Kitty’s logo and name, my “idea” board you can see in a few shots had it on there, and I have well over, and not kidding, 300 Punching Kitty stickers sprinkled on my desk. In fact, upon close inspection, there are two “accidental plugs” KSDK left in:
#1 When they showed the Craigslist ad:
#2 When they showed a wider shot of my desk, there is a Punching Kitty sticker on my monitor. You can’t make it out here, but it might be been a little something in High-Def…on a 60″ TV.
Even throughout the interview, it was clear that the point of the piece was about my blog. “How long have you been doing your blog?” “What is it about?” “What are you going to do next on there?” “Lets make sure we get this shot with the logo so we can get you a plug right?” All were direct quotes…none mattered once the piece aired. Lame KSDK. Very very lame.
I guess the important thing is that you filled out a slot in your Friday night “We don’t give a shit, put the JV anchor crew out there” newscast. Your main audience of people waiting to die was happy that they saw something about baseball and no one got offended or overly entertained which is the important thing…second only to finishing another day with out Leisa Zigmann’s nose falling off her face.
Jokes aside, I’m really not angered by this as much as I feel duped. Flat out, had they said from the beginning “We will not mention the name of your site.” I wouldn’t have done the piece. No malice behind that (at least at the time), it’s just that I didn’t want to have to run home on a Friday and take time out of my day to do this if there wasn’t going to be a promotional value in it. This site is growing at a crazy rate these days. It is well-read, especially for a locally-focused site and because of that I’m not at all worried about “just being on TV”, I only agreed due to the inherit promotion to keep this site growing at its current rate. In the grand scheme of things, the piece KSDK produced was a fine fluffy Friday-evening story that hurt no one, but that’s not at all how it was brought to me. Frankly that’s more than a little slimy, but looks worse on KSDK that this is the kind of games they have to play to fill 30 minutes these days.
A few final unstructured notes on this subject:
- Yes, I 100% realize the time constraints involved in something like this, but using that as an excuse to cut out every Punching Kitty reference is BS. I certainly wasn’t thinking this was going to be 5 minutes of our logo, but after my dealings with Yarchin I thought at worst I would get “Punching Kitty.com” under my name in the lower third. Nope. Nothing.
- One good “Old Media” thing I should note is that earlier in the day, Friday, our same story was mentioned in Derrick Goold’s great 10@10 post on STLToday. It originally appeared uncredited, but after myself and a few others reached out the Goold, he updated his post with attribution to this site and apologized via Twitter. He’s a class act, and an actual journalist who wants to source things correctly. Thanks again Derrick, we really appreciate it.
- Despite our brief interactions, I don’t think this was Yarchin’s call. Maybe I’m still being a little duped here, but I’m guessing the final editing of everything with Punching Kitty came from higher up. Is there a rule in place where you can’t mention outside sites? Maybe (let me know if you know something), but not long ago this very site was mentioned on KSDK.com on a story about the Crown Candy Malt record: “Crown Candy malt record still stands, but whose name goes on plaque?” Too bad the author, Mike Owens, is leaving KSDK. He appears to be the only one that know how this whole “sourcing” thing works.
- I emailed Ashley Yarchin Friday right after the piece aired to thank her for the time, but also explain my frustrations. No response yet.
- Oh yes, the online version! I almost forgot! No mention or link there either. I tried to comment on the story to leave a link back here and it was promptly removed. Stay classy butt-wipes. …people still say “butt-wipe” don’t they?
- Irony: When she was leaving, I asked Yarchin when this would air and if I could get the finished clip. “It will be online. Can you just link to our site instead of putting the video on your site though?” Yeah, gonna get right on that.