Want Something Done Get Someone Else To Do It

An email came in yesterday from an editor at one of the local TV station’s news outfits. It salutated with “Hello Mr. Bell,” but other than that ringing error it was a very pleasant note stating that the writer and some colleagues read and enjoyed my Blogging.la interview with the anonymous artist I call the “Bird Man,” and as a result were thinking his would make a great story for their station’s news program. In hopes of getting the ball rolling they were curious if I could facilitate an interview by functioning as a go-between and forwarding the editor’s contact info onward to the artist.

This immediately hoisted whatever journalistic ire is left in me (no doubt stoked by that Mr. Bell thing). Certainly there’s nothing technically wrong with reaching out for assistance across the news media ether, but here’s the deal: The way I was able to contact the artist was with the assistance of Mike at Franklin Avenue who at the beginning of this month picked up the baton I’d jogged with and dropped back in September and reported via L.A. Brain Terrain that the dude had a blog and a MySpace page. Did I ask Mike or LABT to forward my info to the artist? Hell no. I went to his MySpace page and dropped the guy a cordial note to come out and play. He did and the rest is a very very minor thread woven into the fabric of the blogiverse.

Seeing as in the intro to the B.la Q&A I reconnected the historic dots that got me to that point, and I provided links to both his blog and his MySpace page, frankly I was markedly put off by the lack of initiative the local news outfit’s editor/colleagues to contact the artist directly, and responded suggesting politely that I ain’t your message boy that’s what they should do — and I signed my first and complete last name. The kicker came when the editor wrote back that they couldn’t do that because to send a message via MySpace one has to have a MySpace page of one’s own and they didn’t have one.

Now this induced some semi-incredulous chortling and pfffft-ing for two reasons. First, love it or hate it MySpace is so freaking prevalent that having an account there is a virtual no-brainer, even if only to exploit its system as a conduit for communication. Second, it’s not like a Gmail account where you need some sort of official e-vite to join. Anyone, including mid-level editors at local news outlets, can get one.

On a side note and even funnier, the editor saw the mistake she’d made with my name in the initial correspondence and tried to cover it up by correcting it where it appeared in the quoted text thread. The attempted fix was almost partially endearing.

Anyway, I wrestled with the choice of being a decent fellow a message boy or being even more petty and petulant than I am and in the end I forwarded the editor’s initial email to the artist — and I even refrained from any editorial input about it. In my final reply to the editor I suggested that while waiting for word back (if any) from him that a MySpace account would be a fine idea.