This was not the column I was going to write this week. No, that column, which I started on Monday when my energy levels are higher, was much more fun than this. But I promised transparency, so this is the column I have to write this week.
I made a mistake.
Fortunately, it wasn’t the kind of mistake that causes irreversible harm, but it caused confusion and did a disservice to our readers and this paper. I let you and my coworkers down, and I’m sorry for that.
I owe it to you to tell you what happened and how I’m going to fix it. So here’s what happened: on Friday morning, Rock the South announced the names of the artists performing this year. I wrote a quick brief about it, attached a photo and posted it to our website and social media. Except I got the location wrong.
Allow me to go a little deeper into how this happened. On Thursday, we discussed that the announcement would be made at 8 a.m. the following morning. I volunteered to cover it because I’m usually in the office by 8 a.m. Except I wasn’t. I was running a bit behind schedule, but I wasn’t too worried; after all, with modern technology, I could log on from home and write the story and post it. Except I couldn’t.
I live close to the office, however, so I drove in to log on and write the story, post it and share on social media. I didn’t give myself enough time to do more research, though. As a newcomer to the community, I don’t know the history of events, and it’s my responsibility to find out. I knew the festival had moved locations last year, and for some reason, I had it in my head that the location was Smith Lake Park. That is wrong.
After posting, I went back home to get ready. Within minutes of stepping out of the shower, I got the first text message. I can’t say there is no worse feeling than getting messages that say you’ve made an error on a basic fact, because there certainly are. I can say, though, that it ranks right up there with “we need to talk” messages.
I immediately called the newsroom to see if anyone was available to fix the story online, while I went to Facebook and updated our post there and responded to comments - yes, of course there were already comments - about the location. After the controversy last year about changing the location of Rock the South, that would be the fact I got wrong. It was like poking at an existing bruise. I didn’t delete the original post - again transparency is important - but took out the incorrect information and noted that I had done so and apologized for the mistake.
Fortunately, all this happened within the space of 30 minutes, before social media could go entirely insane, and I was pleased to see the conversation changing over to discussions about the lineup for the event.
Mistakes are going to happen. I know this. But I will always be striving to do better, and letting you know if and when I fall short.