The crazy-but-true Wellesley High Prom Pin story that The Swellesley Report broke over the long weekend is getting the follow-up treatment by local news stations. It’s now got a shot at going viral beyond the region in the days ahead as the tale of WHS seniors Kathleen Garvey and Colin Emerson’s unusual prom night — nearly derailed after Garvey accidentally swallowed a boutonniere pin — spreads.
WBZ-TV/CBS Boston (“New at 6!”), Fox25 and WHDH 7 all followed up on our original story, which stemmed from us hearing about the incident through word of mouth in town. None of these local TV stations credited what was no doubt the source for their stories after we posted our piece on Sunday upon interviewing Garvey and spread the word on social media (in fact, I had alerted one of the stations to the story, with a link to ours). The news stations even rehashed the story using the same general “tough to swallow/may be hard to swallow” wording that we used — not that this was exactly a stroke of literary originality.
(Reminds me of the time a few years back when we were first to post the transcript of Wellesley High teacher David McCullough, Jr.’s now famous “You’re Not Special” commencement address. We inserted a bit of text in brackets inside the transcript and wouldn’t you know that wound up on other websites that swiped the transcript from us.)
It’s not always easy to ascertain the original source of a news story, especially once it goes viral. But we’re in the early stages of this one, so it was easy. Of course, it’s quite possible the on-air “reporters” were just following marching orders from producers and content overseers, and never were involved in sourcing the story.
Boston.com’s Eric Levenson had the decency to cite us in his post on Tuesday about the incident, as did UPI’s Ben Hooper, the Boston Globe’s Christina Prignano and Boston Magazine/Boston Daily’s Kyle Scott Clauss. Sites such as Huffington Post and MSN.com on Tuesday picked up the story as well, apparently through partnerships with the local TV news outlets.
I realize local TV news falls more into the entertainment than journalism category, but it is a pretty basic reporting practice to cite the Globe or Herald or Associated Press, etc., when recycling news. But such is life as a lowly local blogger in this town crawling with local TV news talking heads and self-described news personalities.