Maybe that’s a stretch. I may not be the next Bieber, but I did receive more widespread press attention today than ever before.
I’ve been interviewed in the past on Fox 59 News, WIBC Radio and have been able to secure several lengthy news spots for clients. But never have I personally been featured in the news like today.
My morning started with a 7:45am interview with WTHR Channel 13. It was about a 1-2 minute long Skype interview. Later in the day, I received an email from The Indy Star and called in at 11am for an interview that was published just a few hours later.
To my disbelief, my story was picked up later in the day by USA Today, Journal & Courier (out of Lafayette), MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, and even some international program that I’m still unsure of regarding the details.
Here is the Backstory
Yesterday I was sitting at my computer, and had just finished up a project. I was looking at the weather radar and reading up about the impending snow storm that was coming later in the day. Most meteorologists were predicting 6-10″ of snow. This, after we’ve already set numerous snow and low temperature records here in Indiana. So, like many Hoosiers, I was feeling depressed about the weather. I’m sick and tired of the ice-covered roads, shoveling my driveway, having businesses close down, schools close down, yada yada.
But then I realized that my negative energy wasn’t going to stop the snow. So why not just embrace it? So for the next 2 hours, I developed StopTheSnow.org. It became the first ever online petition to unite as Hoosiers and take a stand against the snow!
Yes…I know a petition won’t actually stop the snow. But it was just a silly idea in an attempt to make light of this crazy winter. I finished the site and Tweeted it out and posted it to my Facebook account. I figured a handful of my followers would sign their name or maybe Favorite my Tweet. Really, I just wanted to try to make people smile who may also be feeling down about the weather.
Local News Coverage
Well, through a series of Retweets, WTHR caught wind of my idea and asked me to call in for an interview on Wednesday morning during their “Sunrise” show. So, I called in via Skype and as soon as Chuck Lofton wrapped up his weather report, I was chatting live on air with Scott Swan and Anne Marie Tiernon. I can’t find the video, but here is a link to the story: Adam Whitaker on WTHR: Indiana’s News Leader
After seeing the story air, the number of signatures on my petition had grown from 500 to well over 1,000 (now at over 2,400). A reporter from The Indy Star was one of those new signatures, who also reached out to me for a story of their own. So I spoke with Cori who was awesome and was later published on the IndyStar.com as well. Here is a link to that story with a blown-up picture of my ugly mug: Westfield, Indiana’s Adam Whitaker on The Indy Star
Another Gannett company, Journal & Courier, based out of Lafayette republished the story shortly after: Journal & Courier Article
I was already feeling great about this attention. I never expected a just-for-fun project to pick up this kind of steam. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw USA Today publish the story. And yes, Gannett owns USA Today just like they own Indy Star so they are sister companies or whatever you call it, but still exciting to see the extra publicity. At this point, my email was blowing up with new signatures. How exciting!
The highlight of my day, though, was finding out that Rachel Maddow even talked about the website. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a bigger fan of WTHR and Indy Star, and have never even watched Rachel Maddow. But being mentioned on such a huge broadcast was very cool. She never mentions me by name, but you’ll still hear her call me “brilliant” 🙂
Now It’s Just Getting Crazy
At this point the fame is going to my head. I’m sitting by the phone waiting on TMZ to call and I keep peering out my window in anticipation of the paparazzi knocking at my door. The pressure is mounting and I can’t get Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” out of my head.
Joking obviously, but seeing this pop up definitely made me smile:
If you listen closely, you can hear her say my name and the word “Indianapolis” a couple of times. Here’s the written story if you think you can read it (Just click on my name written in Chinese): 印州男子惠特克
In All Seriousness…
It was a fun day and exciting to see a small, quirky idea get so much media attention. The feedback I got on the site has been amazing, with a whole slew of people leaving funny and supportive comments. The number of positive comments has definitely out-weighed the few, “get a life” and “you’re an idiot” comments.
But really what it comes down to is experience. I’ve been in the web design and digital marketing field for 7 years now. I understand now how to just develop a creative idea, but also how to use digital strategies to bring attention to that idea. It’s fun to see myself on the news, but it’s even more rewarding to see my clients on the news. And that’s something that I’ve done fairly consistently and look forward to continuing to provide as a service to my clients.
If you have any digital design or marketing needs for your business, including PR, don’t hesitate to get in touch.