So, I'm minding my own business the other day, and I notice that there's an e-mail from some lady who says she's from the New York Times. "Yeah, right," I think to myself. "Surely they aren't taking those death threats seriously. Not now. After all this time." But, as I read the e-mail, it turns out that she says she's writing an article about E2 and she wants to know if she can call me and discuss the site.

ITEM #1: The e-mail is in all lower case and has several grammatical errors. I don't remember any spelling errors, but it did look like an e-mail from a grade school kid. (Not that I'm e-mailing grade school kids. A lot. Any more.)

So, I write her back and tell her that I'd be glad to discuss the site with her. After all, I'm a loyal E2 promoter and I'll do whatever is reasonable to promote the site and help Nate out. In fact, I've been trying for months to get USA Today to feature E2 as a "Hot Site". USA Today features about five Hot Sites every day, but apparently they think that a link to a picture of George W. Bush sitting on his dad's knee as Mini-Me is a Hotter Site than something like an attempt to catalogue all the knowledge in the known world. Hell, that's not even a web site. It's just a link to a stupid picture. And, get this: In USA Today's round-up of the Hottest Hot Sites on the WWW for the year, they featured about 25 sites over the course of the week of January 1. Guess what one of the Hottest Hot Sites was? Yep. George W. sitting on his dad's knee. (Can you tell how much I hate that goddamned sorry excuse for a newspaper?)

Well, anyway, I tell the New York Times lady to call me between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM CST. (She had asked for a good time to call.)

ITEM #2: She called me at 9:00 PM the other evening. Now, if she was a rocket scientist working for NASA, she would have just missed her launch window by about as many hours as humanly possible.

However, I was really doing nothing important (can you imagine that?) and I said it was fine. So we talked for about 30 minutes.

ITEM #3: It became painfully apparent that this woman knew nothing about E2. She's a reporter for what bills itself as the most important newspaper in the world. And yet she had either not taken more than half an hour to look around on the web site about which she's writing this article, or she spent several hours here and just didn't understand a damn thing she was seeing. With her own two eyes. College educated eyes, I would guess. Probably a Master's Degree, at least, wouldn't you think?

Nevertheless, I did my best to not say what I was thinking about her personally and try to focus on the job at hand. Her questions did not tend to lead to the heart of the matter, as far as I could tell, so I attempted to steer her to what I thought was important about the site. It was like trying to herd cats.

ITEM #4: The article itself. Just read it.

I would just ask you to think about this the next time you count on the New York Times for your news. These folks who call themselves reporters couldn't report the last thing that fell out of their ass unless there was a Press Release on it. And they probably don't have the sense to flush. So all they'd have to do is just go look. Just look.

Is that too much to ask?

Every time someone from a virtual community has a brush with traditional media, these things happen:

  1. They don't get the point
  2. They omit vital information (like the URL, if it is WWW stuff)
  3. They make the users look like freaks
  4. They call the someone a hacker, or a cracker or both
  5. They put the thing between a segment (article, clip) about Groundhog Day and one about "How to treat diarrhoea in children".

I have seen it happen. I was the someone. The virtual community was Little Italy. The traditional media was Italian state TV. They gave us all of five minutes, a modem that would not work and they had no capability to feed a VGA signal into their video mixer.
As I and my co-wizards were leaving for Milano, we said in a chorus "For this I went to Turin and wasted a whole day ?" --- and that was when we had a minor car crash.

Even somewhat more serious attempts like My Tiny Life don't quite get it.

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