Perhaps you’ve heard of Kayla Andrews? Thanks to the blog publishing efforts of Geoff Meeker, her story has been making the social media equivalent of headlines across the country this week. Indeed, the people have been in an uproar over the alleged comment Hedley front man Jacob Hoggard made in response to Andrews tapping him on the shoulder at The Sundance in the hopes of getting a photo together last week.
I won’t reprint the comment. That’s not what I’m here to discuss.
An important piece of the puzzle was missing when Meeker published his first of two blog posts on this story on Tuesday. Meeker intentionally left Hoggard out of a story in which he was accused of wrong doing by making no effort whatsoever to reach him for a comment. Meeker confirmed this for me when I questioned him on it Thursday night.
As the story goes, Andrews was upset after her encounter with Hoggard and wanted to find a way to let him know what he did was wrong. After deliberating over this for a few days, she decided to leave a comment about what happened to her on the HITS FM Facebook page.
Meeker saw the comment and, like a lawyer chasing an ambulance, set about convincing an admittedly distressed and reluctant Andrews to divulge the details of her story to him so he could publish them on his The Telegram-hosted blog.
If there’s one thing you can always rely on, it’s that people love seeing celebrities fuck up. And if you can give them some moral high ground to stand on while they cast their stones in response (I think it’s safe to say most people would never say what Hoggard said to Andrews that night), even better.
It was a sensational story, the perfect storm, and Meeker had it under his command. If he’d brought Hoggard in for a comment before publishing, almost all of the storm’s energy might have been lost by providing a resolution before any further conflict could arise.
As Andrews told Meeker, all she wanted was to let Hoggard know he had wronged her, but Meeker wasn’t interested in bringing that element into the story, choosing instead to publish the details and let them be carried to Hoggard on the tsunami of social media likes, posts, shares, and tweets that would come surging from his blog.
By Meeker’s last account, his initial blog post on the story netted him 15,000 page views. Not bad for a small blog hosted on a provincial newspaper’s website. But it came at the price of tarnishing his blog’s reputation, at least in my eyes.
When the Telegram published news of Meeker’s story and its aftermath, Meeker expressed his satisfaction in having “helped right a wrong.” I think it’s unfortunate that Meeker sees it that way, since while it was well within his power to do just that he instead chose the more sensational path.
By the time he published his second blog post on the story, there were signs Meeker was getting swept up in his own storm, misquoting Hoggard on the contents of his apology.
“Jacob Hoggard said his comment “may have” been hurtful, which is half-hearted. In my view, he is not taking full ownership of what he said.”
But what Hoggard actually said was, “it saddens me to hear a comment I may have made in St. John’s was hurtful to one of you.” Bit of a difference, don’t you think?
Meeker’s blog is called Meeker on Media, and is, for the most part, an ongoing critique of how the media, from The CBC to The Herald (and even this humble weblog), in this province conducts itself. Perhaps now would be a good time for his blog to turn its critical gaze inward.