False news reports about me

I got into work today to be greeted by an email from a co-worker. “Marc, you’re getting slammed on the radio this morning”!

Apparently the folks at Mix 107.9 saw the Wikipedia article on Waterville, ME. In it, the most exciting economic development initiative in town, The Hathaway Creative Center, is called a scam.

My coworker heard them say I’d made that comment, that I was the pastor of the Vineyard Church, and that I worked at Inland.

Here’s the background. A couple months ago, one of Inland’s new physicians told me that they came here despite the Waterville article on Wikipedia. When I went to it, it was awful. It was like an extended online reader’s comment at the bottom of a Morning Sentinel article. The writer ranted about how awful this place was, how economically depressed our downtown is, and how inept Waterville was at getting anything positive started.

Obviously I took issue with that. Waterville is a great place to live and has some great things happening in it. Worse, the article didn’t follow the Wikipedia guidelines of being a reference work with lots of references. There were none.

So I added some references to good stories in the Morning Sentinel and added some positive things happening: Waterville Main Street, the Waterville Public Library, Soup to Nuts Coffee House, and KVConnect. (You can compare what I found on the site to the changes I made: right here.)

After that, someone went in and added a ton of information: demographics, pictures, lots of stuff. Apparently they also added that the Hathaway Center was a scam.

I didn’t see that when I went in on December 4 to update the transportation. (Only the airport was listed so I added I-95 and the intermodal transfer station we have.)

But I got blamed with the negative information in the article. Ironic isn’t it? And not only blamed but blamed on air.

What a way to start the morning! *sigh*

I’m concerned for lots of reasons:

  • My friends and colleagues–the leaders in the community–are working really hard to make this a great place, now I appear to be slamming their work.
  • There are enough pastors negative about life in general. I’m an optimist but I’m being painted with the brush of the others.
  • Inland’s name was included. One of our core commitments is to the economic development of our communities. This makes it look like one of their most in-the-community people doesn’t buy it.

What’s shocking is that a minor edit I made on Wikipedia can be misconstrued by a local radio station. I guess I still haven’t come to grips with the ramifications of the interconnectedness of Web 2.0.

[12/13 Things are MUCH better. No one I spoke with listened to this station any way. The station apologized Tuesday. And I got to go on for an Inland related thing on Thursday a.m. I was on air with them for about 45 minutes. It’s really turned out to be a good thing!]

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!®," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and FundraisingCoach.com. He's also the executive director of TheNonprofitAcademy.com and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to http://thenonprofitacademy.com/21waysebook

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Renee

    Oh man, this is bad. Makes me feel glad I’m not well known : ) I’ll be praying for you and I’m sure more good will come from this than evil.

    And I agree, Waterville is a great community. I don’t understand people who are intent on disparaging everything.

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