Montreal Gazette Slams Price, Twitter Fans Come to Rescue

March 24, 2010 by Tyler  
Filed under Hockey Columns

One of the fantastic things about social media and the internet is how absolutely fast and interactive it has become. It is truly a minute-to-minute conversation, and often even faster than that.

A great example of this occurred just following the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Now, being a Habs fan, I was watching the game of course. And, I was as disappointed as anyone when the Canadiens managed to squander a 2-0 lead in the last few minutes of the game.

However, it was quite obvious that neither of the Buffalo goals scored in regulation time were remotely close to being the fault of Carey Price.

But, that’s not what the Montreal Gazette would have you believe! I know that headlines sell papers etc. , but following the game a ghastly headline topped an article about the Canadiens’ loss.

“Price Blows It For Habs In Buffalo”

What happened in the next few minutes on Twitter was one of the finest and quickest examples of Social Media influence as well as engagement and ownership by a brand that I have witnessed.

As we can see in the screenshot below, Canadiens fans immediately found the headline unacceptable.  And, within minutes, an employee of the Montreal Gazette agreed.
(@habsinsideout1 is Dave Stubbs, a Columnist/sports feature writer with the Montreal Gazette and habsinsideout.com)

Habs fans on Twitter rebel against unfair Montreal Gazette headline blaming Carey Price

At the same time that this conversation was going on, the headline on the Montreal Gazette website was changed.

Montreal Gazette headline change reported on twitter

The new headline doesn’t implicate Carey Price any longer and only identifies that the Canadiens gave up a lead late in the game.

Montreal Gazette altered headline

Of course, on the internet there is always a trail of evidence! That said, even with a new headline, the article URL still identifies remnants of the original.

Montreal Gazette URL still shows Carey Price

Of course, this type of social media backlash is not new, nor is it infrequent in this day and age. But, this is one of the first times I have witnessed it first hand.

What resonated with me, more than anything, was the ownership that Dave  Stubbs took in agreeing that the Gazette had made an error. It’s fine to make an error, people make mistakes. In fact, it’s entirely possible that Pat Hickey didn’t even write the headline.

What would fans’ reaction have been if Dave didn’t take ownership and remedy the situation?

Granted, this isn’t a huge crisis issue (although some in Montreal would beg to differ) but I think it’s a great example of how being engaged in social media can help a brand intercept and diffuse even the smallest of issues before they have a chance to snowball.

What do you think?

P.S- If you notice, I made an error in the URL of this article. How fitting.

Update: Given the nature of this post, it is only fitting that I update it with Dave Stubbs final tweet on the subject. Great job Dave!


Update: from Kyle Roussel of Cowhide and Rubber

I can’t help but feel like somewhere, some editor is giggling, excited that their trash headline generated all kinds of clicks, which that person will then trot in front of their boss, who will nod approvingly and in turn prop that up as proof to potential advertisers that people actually do read the Gazette website.

Comments

21 Comments on "Montreal Gazette Slams Price, Twitter Fans Come to Rescue"

  1. Kyle on Wed, 24th Mar 2010 11:43 pm 

    I couldn’t agree more. What we also learned is that Hickey is NOT responsible for the headline. Stubbs mentioned this on twitter (too tired to find the link to his tweet). Copy editors generally write the headline…which begs the question: is it his/her job to reflect the reality, or to draw readers?

    Perhaps I’m naive, but I would imagine that any reputable news source would want to give the real story, and not some fabricated, uneducated eye-grabbing headline.

    I can’t help but feel like somewhere, some editor is giggling, excited that their trash headline generated all kinds of clicks, which that person will then trot in front of their boss, who will nod approvingly and in turn prop that up as proof to potential advertisers that people actually do read the Gazette website.

    As ticked off as I was about the amateurish behaviour the Gazette displayed tonight, I am relieved that they seemed to quickly adjust to the uproar generated on twitter. I was serious when I said I’d cancel my subscription over this. If I want fake news, I’ll read the onion. I want information and informed opinion from my newspaper. Not trash linkbaiting and dirty journalism.

    But as you beautifully illustrated, they are not as quick or clever as they might think they are, and the evidence is online for all to see. Forever.

    Nice work, Tyler! Chalk up another victory for the power of crowds in social media to get stuff done!

  2. Cathie_AK27 (Cathie Dres) on Wed, 24th Mar 2010 11:44 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    RT @nhldigest: #Habs twitter fans come to rescue of Price! [link to post] #NHL

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  3. rmarcham (Ray Marcham) on Wed, 24th Mar 2010 11:45 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    Very good! RT @nhldigest: #Habs twitter fans come to rescue of Carey Price! [link to post] #NHL

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  4. SeatGeek (The Seat Geek) on Wed, 24th Mar 2010 11:47 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    Interesting how the Gazette got it totally wrong… RT @nhldigest: #Habs twitter fans come to rescue of Carey Price! [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  5. theactivestick on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 12:10 am 

    In most newsrooms, writers don’t write the headlines, copy editors do.

    Some publications ask the writer to provide one or more suggested headlines and then the copy editor might incorporate one, but in general headlines are the copy writer’s job. As Dave Stubbs pointed out later, they have tight deadlines and most probably this one did not watch the game.

    I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Hickey’s headline.

  6. Chris Nadeau on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 6:54 am 

    Awesome stuff Tyler. I wish I was on Twitter during the game to catch this.

    I am not from Montreal, but it seems the press likes to stir the pot, but what seems to happen is they get enough believers in something and all of the sudden it creates negativity within the environment the team plays in.

    Better headline might of been: Miller Outduels Price in Shootout Win.

    Great to see the power of the fans come out on top here, via social media. Now if we could of had Jacques Martin on Twitter during the game, we might of gotten him to call a time out after the first goal against :-)

  7. Epic Fail: Habs Blow Two-Goal Lead Against Sabres | Hockey Independent on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 10:18 am 

    [...] Even The Montreal Gazette, the premiere English-language newspaper in the city, laid the blame on price, their web editor choosing a very inappropriate title for Pat Hickey’s post-game article: ”Price Blows it for Habs in Buffalo”. The title was changed shortly thereafter, but not before an outpour of support from Habs fans on Twitter, which was summed up nicely (with color images!) on NHL Digest. [...]

  8. trevorturnbull (Trevor Turnbull) on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 12:09 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    #Habs fans come the rescue of Carey Price on Twitter following OT loss. Gr8 ex of social media influence! [link to post] @nhldigest

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  9. alex_ruiz (Alex Ruiz) on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 12:33 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    #Habs fans come to the rescue of Carey Price on #Twitter: [link to post] ~ via @nhldigest @trevorturnbull #NHL

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  10. BobbyPulte (Bobby Pulte) on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 12:34 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    @chile_pepper [link to post] this is you :)

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  11. kimmcneilyoga (Kim McNeil) on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 12:35 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    #Habs fans come to rescue of Carey Price on Twitter. Gr8 ex of social media influence [link to post] @nhldigest @trevorturnbull

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  12. chouine (Mathieu Chouinard) on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 12:36 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    @tchendoh heheh on parle (pas vraiment) de nous ! [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  13. Kevin Mio on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 12:57 pm 

    As one of the editors of our website, and a main contributor to Habsinsideout.com, I feel a duty to explain what happened.
    Firstly, this was no attempt to stir the pot. It was simply an error by an editor who wrote the headline based on what he saw of the game, and not the game story.
    The headline on Habsinsideout.com was ALWAYS fair and accurate in terms of saying that the TEAM blew the game, and not Price.
    Also, I hate to inform you that the headline was not changed because of Twitter responses. It was changed as soon as I noticed it from home and emailed the editor to change it immediately.
    Only after I sent that email did I even see reader comments.

  14. Darrenchris (Darren Christensen) on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 1:13 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    RT @alex_ruiz: #Habs fans come to the rescue of Carey Price on #Twitter: [link to post] ~ via @nhldigest @trevorturnbull #NHL

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  15. AnthonyZanfini (Anthony Zanfini) on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 1:32 pm 

    Twitter Comment


    #Habs fans come to the rescue of Carey Price on #Twitter: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  16. Tyler on Thu, 25th Mar 2010 6:38 pm 

    Kevin,
    Thanks for the reply.
    I never thought it was intended to stir the pot. And, like I said, people make mistakes and that it happens all the time.
    Also, if you notice, I commended Dave and the Gazette for owning the error and correcting it. That’s great stuff right there.
    Thank you for correcting me in noting that the headline was not changed due to social media response. It certainly seemed that way considering the timeline being perfect (see screen captures) and Dave’s involvement.
    Once again, kudos to the Gazette for the way the situation was handled.
    Tyler

  17. Jfavreau (Jfavreau) on Fri, 26th Mar 2010 12:02 am 

    Twitter Comment


    RT @nhldigest Montreal Gazette Slams Price, Twitter Fans Come to Rescue [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  18. Jamei Favreau on Fri, 26th Mar 2010 12:23 am 

    I think this is a great use of both social and traditional. In Detroit we had the Chevy SXSW team go to Austin and compete in a competition. One of the main supporters of social media is an anchor for our local news. So he was supporting the team by doing updates through his outlet.

    I think the two can work together. It is great to see that they have worked together for a press outlet too.

    Thanks for the great case study.

  19. cnadeau (Chris Nadeau) on Fri, 26th Mar 2010 12:31 am 

    Twitter Comment


    Great post! Very private investigator like :-) RT @nhldigest Montreal Gazette Slams Price, Twitter Fans Come to Rescue [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  20. katiemiranda (katiemiranda) on Fri, 26th Mar 2010 12:32 am 

    Twitter Comment


    hahahaha we’re just awesome, no need to hurt price’s feelings! RT @nhldigest Montreal Gazette Slams Price [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  21. erbower (Eric Bower) on Fri, 26th Mar 2010 12:33 am 

    Twitter Comment


    RT @nhldigest Montreal Gazette Slams Price, Twitter Fans Come to Rescue [link to post] ->Twitter alters the headline…cool #Habs

    Posted using Chat Catcher

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!