The chatter is back and I don’t think it is going anywhere anytime soon. What went down last week at South by Southwest is something that could be studied by journalism classes for years to come. A flirtatious interviewer, a crowd turned mad and an interviewee who avoided any confrontation and chose to remain a bystander through the entire event.
While I have no desire to participate in the blame game, I know that even I became a participant of the mob mentality. After watching the Sarah Lacy, Mark Zuckerberg interview again, I heard myself demand that they open up the interview to the crowd for questions and answers. After having my wish granted I felt as though somehow we had hijacked the interview and there was no turning back. Allen Stern now speaks for the crowd when he demands an apology from Sarah Lacy but as Paul Glazowski points out all participants are at fault.
Something definitely went wrong with the interview and while I can say that it was Lacy’s shameless self-promotion or her desire to interject minor details of Zuckerberg’s and her shared relationship which fueled the uproar, the discussion should be dead in the water. Do we expect the death of a journalist’s career? Perhaps that’s what the end result should be. I don’t know what should happen but I’ve been on stage in front of others and misspeaking is something that occurs frequently.
The crowd was looking for one misstep from the get go and starting off the interview with a crowd member yelling “beacon sucks” is definitely not a good way to get started. The interview was destined for failure and I think the lesson learned may just be that all of us in the industry are looking for something more. We expected status quo and anything not beyond status quo was guaranteed to receive a fiery backlash.
The aftermath of the interview was equally disastrous but ultimately all participants (both interviewee, interviewer and the crowd) are equally at fault for what went down. We should have all acted in a professional manner but then again this was south by southwest, not a suit and tie event. I’m not sure what we expected out of the interview but ultimately we all got more then we asked for. Fortunately for the crowd we have a scapegoat to hold up to the flames.
I would like to have seen this series of events unfold differently but as the owner of this blog I have only benefited from the entire experience. How it should have gone down is for the students of journalism to decide. I know that Sarah Lacy should have handled the event much differently but then again, I can only hope that I am present if and when a similar event takes place in the future.
So here’s to Sarah Lacy, you’ve brought my blog a lot of traffic over the past week and you’ve also attracted over 210,000 views of the video I posted of your interview. Thanks!