There are some things in the news business that are predictable, but others not so much. This week’s hubbub over the injured bald eagle on Route 50 was one that caught me by surprise. Even CNN contacted us about it.
Once it was learned motorists were standing guard over the injured bald eagle on Route 50 to make sure it was safe until authorities arrived, I posted on our Facebook page information about it with photos submitted by motorists. The post immediately went viral.
While feeding on a dead animal in the median, the bald eagle apparently was spooked by something, taking off to fly away and inadvertently striking a vehicle and injured itself in a severe enough fashion that it could not take off again in short order. As a result, motorists who witnessed the situation acted in Good Samaritan fashion and protected the eagle from further harm until authorities arrived.
The eagle was moved to the woods and monitored and reportedly was able to function in its normal capacity, according to Natural Resources Police.
At its most fundamental, social media is a wonderful communication tool. That can be a positive or a negative. The positive side of this was people’s questions were answered and concerns heard in a timely fashion. The original post on Sunday had some impressive Facebook statistics — it reached over 720,000 people, was liked by 11,000, shared by 5,800 and commented on by about 900.
The next round of voting in Budget Travel’s “America’s Coolest Small Town” poll is underway. Readers will recall Berlin won this contest last year, thanks largely to a savvy and dedicated social media campaign that encouraged people to vote each day and tell everyone they know to vote as well.
This year’s campaign features another shore town, Chincoteague, Va. With a little more than three weeks to go in the poll, Chincoteague is currently in second place. The top 10 goes like this: Grand Marais, Minn, 30.3%; Chincoteague, Va., 17.9%; Hillsborough, N.C., 10.4%; Fort Myers Beach, Fla., 8.5%; Washington, N.C., 7.9%; Delhi, N.Y., 6.2%; Allegan, Mich., 5.2%; Snohomish, Wash., 4%; Huron, Ohio, 3.6%; and Berkeley Springs, W.Va., 2.5%. Vote at www.budgettravel.com.
Growing up, Cal Ripken Jr. was my sports idol. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that six months of the year I watched him play every day throughout my entire childhood. I wish I could have been in the room when Ripken thrilled some Pocomoke High School students on Wednesday with a surprise visit.
The students had made several attempts to get Ripken to the school and he recognized those attempts this week. During his casual talk with the students this week, he gave plenty of words of advice, but this was my favorite snippet.
“I wasn’t a perfect attendance guy [in school],” he said. “On the first day of first grade, I tried to make a break for it. Honestly, it is all about commitment. You can’t accomplish everything by just showing up, but you can’t accomplish anything if you don’t show up. Be proud of the fact you stand for something and show up every day and try to accomplish great things.”
Typically, a media outlet does not insert itself into the news. It reports on it. The exception around these parts is Gannett, owner of The Daily Times and some other weeklies.
Along with the disturbing decision to post videos of fights at or around Stephen Decatur High School this week, a situation most in the media industry has been following was Gannett’s legal action against the Town of Ocean City for not providing the name of a 17-year-old who died in the ocean last summer. Gannett was asking the court to find the city in violation of the Maryland Public Information Act by respecting the family’s wishes and withholding the name. Along with a favorable ruling, Gannett wanted the judge to order the city (taxpayers) to pay for its legal fees as well.
In his opinion, the judge confirmed the city acted within its right by providing documents in the case but redacting the teen’s name.
“In this case, the Plaintiff, a third party, is requesting information about a private citizen (the name of the decedent). The Plaintiff is not related to the decedent and is not a party in interest. The request seeks no information about a Governmental agency, and it would provide no further understanding or insight into the conduct and procedures of the investigation; the request only seeks the name of the decedent, a private citizen. The request is an unwarranted invasion of privacy … The Government has consented to allow the news agency to see all documents relating to the event with the sole exception of the decedent’s name. The Police Department has communicated this to the news agency and has further stated with specificity the enumerated exception to disclosure, namely that disclosure would be considered an unwarranted invasion of privacy. Therefore, the Police Department has met its burden under MPIA, Section 4-351.”