Archive for Thursday, June 29, 2000

No place for ‘juicy gossip’

June 29, 2000

I made mention in this space last week about my recent dinnertime brush with stardom at a Kauai eating establishment.

It isn't every day you get to eat dinner just a few feet away from a fellow who has played on the silver screen a vampire, countless punks and a renegade senior military officer. It isn't every day you eat dinner mere inches from a guy that nearly got Julia Roberts to the altar.

When I grow up, I want to be Kiefer Sutherland.

Not really, but it sounded like a fun thing to say.

It would be hard to live in a fishbowl difficult to enjoy a place like Hawaii when everyone is watching your every move, scrutinizing your every action.

I guess I have to give the guy credit for not caring what the general public thinks. At least that's the message I got from his appearance. He had an unshaven face, a perpetually lit cigarette in one hand and a seemingly-never-empty passion fruit Margarita in the other.

All this while wearing a dirty, wrinkled "Jesus Rocks" T-shirt.

He truly is doing it his way.

Kiefer Rocks.

The little blonde chicky on his arm who looked a lot like Dharma (but wasn't) and was sporting a nice-size diamond on her left hand drew even more attention in his direction.

So did the presence of his dad, Donald (you might remember him best as Buffy's mentor in her quest to slay vampires).

Their holiday in Hawaii allowed our imagination to run wild. After all, they were converging in Hawaii for a reason, right? Father, son and beautiful blonde with a big, sparkling ring on her finger could only mean one thing: Kiefer was tying the knot.

Or so we imagined.

Every time workers near our condo set up for a luau, we pretended it was Kiefer's wedding reception. The tiki torches would be set up to spell out his initials. We tried to say it loud enough so the rumor would spread. Just fun. Playful stuff.

Of course, these were just unsubstantiated rumors (started by us). We thought about calling the tabloids but even on vacation I couldn't do it.

It was then that I realized I could write for one of those papers you see at the supermarket checkout line you know the ones nobody admits to reading.

It would be so easy if facts didn't have to get in the way of a good story. Wouldn't it be great if I could just sit down in front of this computer and write what I wanted, regardless of if it was true or not.

I could sell a lot of newspapers.

Life would be simpler if I didn't have to check out facts and find at least two sources of confirmation.

But I doubt it would be nearly as fruitful.

I doubt I'd be able to call myself a journalist in good conscience.

I am proud of my profession the tabloids notwithstanding most times. I believe most journalists work hard to find stories and work harder to confirm their facts. There have been instances where we have made mistakes in judgment, but by and large the free-press system is one of the reasons this country is the best in the world.

Please step back while I jump from this soapbox.

This started off as a light column. My Hawaiian vacation, I figured, would generate some column fodder. Little did I realize just how much, however, until a recent phone call pointed out to me an ad that this publication recently ran (unbeknownst to everyone in this office) asking people to call in with their "juicy gossip."

I was mortified.

Most journalists would be.

"Juicy gossip" has no place in the building blocks we have put in place for this publication. Nor will it ever. The Eudora News is not in the business of running gossip either in newsprint or on the Internet.

As an industry, this is a perception we have been fighting for far too long. It saddens me that an ad in our paper created by people I work with as a means of selling this product perpetuates the very image we are trying to shed.

We've said from day one that we plan to be fair and accurate. We believe we have held up our end of the bargain so far. The mere perception of "juicy gossip" finding its way into these pages only muddies the waters.

We apologize for this misconception.

Aloha.

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