It had been three years since I signed on for this gig and thus far it’s been a blast. Seeing Jason Taylor traded to the Washington Redskins was not fun. Not for any fan at all. But gone he was.
In 2009 I learned a valuable lesson in writing. A lesson that simply goes like this. People are stupid. And people don’t read. I have thick skin. Always have but I always thought that when someone clicks on an article they actually read it. And when they take that article and use it as a source for more information, they double-check the content. I was wrong.
You would think that it would be obvious to say the least. A post on April 1st is something that shouldn’t be taken seriously. Yet on April 1st, 2009 I posted an article with a simple yet pointed title and including article.
Here is the quick back story. Taylor had been traded to the Redskins and after a horrible year there was talk of him returning to Miami. The gist of the article suggested that Miami would have to give back the Redskins their 2nd round pick they sent Miami for Taylor because it hadn’t been 365 days since the trade.
Now I had all kinds of NFL rule lingo and other stuff to support this along with several links to the April Fools WIKI page. Yet no one bothered to check the sources and took me at my word. Who exactly? Well The Washington Post for one. The New York Times. And many other internet based websites.
It spread like wildfire and was being talked about everywhere. I actually had to write a retraction. But the funny thing was weeks later and even a couple of month later, local media beat writers were still answering questions about its validity.
Needless to say, I learned a lot about our readers and how much smarter they are than other writers who are looking for a big story.