UPDATE: WRAL has responded. Apparently, they were just obeying the law. They have invited ITBlake to attend an upcoming award show. I assume this means he’ll get exclusive coverage rights and possibly an Intern of the Year award.
Sorry, ITBlake! Not our call. We are planning another awards later this year, and if you’d like to come cover it, we’d be happy to have you! I’ll let your boss know when we have more details nailed down.
— Laura Blake (@laurablakenc) January 18, 2018
Age. Is it just a number, or perhaps a way to disenfranchise Raleigh’s younger citizen journalists? That’s the question many are asking after learning that ITBlake the intern was not allowed to attend the WRAL Voter’s Choice Awards due to being under the age of 21.
WRAL, a news station in Raleigh, held their annual awards event at Level7 in North Hills (JOTB) this week. After months of online voting, awards were given out in over 100 categories, with “Best Twitter Personality” being the most important. This year’s nominees were: Triangle Explorer @Trianglexplorer, Kaytee Smith @SciKaytee, Joe Ovies @joeovies, Bill Leslie @wralbleslie, and William Needham Finley IV. For real.
I received an invitation for myself and a guest to attend the event. Obviously, I planned to bring ITBlake. It’s my job to teach him about media empire stuff and this event was going to be the perfect teaching tool.
ITBlake had been looking forward to the event for weeks. I hadn’t seen him this excited over something since the first time he met Stacy Miller. He asked me about the dress code at least three times (hoping it would be black tie) and even texted me the night before to make sure we were still going. That’s when we realized that this was a 21+ event. I checked with WRAL to see how strict this rule was.
— William Needham Finley IV (@WNFIV) January 16, 2018
They confirmed that ITBlake would not be able to attend because the bar would be open during the entire event.
I didn’t know if this policy was the “law” or a devious plot by WRAL to keep ITBlake from becoming more famous. Were they threatened by him after seeing his raw talent on display at the Christmas parade? I thought about holding an emergency press conference at Broughton to announce an ITBoycott of the event, but I needed more time to investigate. The last thing I wanted to do was accuse WRAL of age discrimination if they were just obeying the law. Plus, it would be super awkward if I threw out accusations and then won the “Best Twitter Personality” award.
My investigation was put on hold so that I could break the bad news to ITBlake. As you can see from the video, he took the news pretty well. Our discussion brought up some valid points. Why couldn’t they let people of all ages attend the event and check IDs at the bar? Why not hold this at Crowley’s? Should the drinking age be changed? Was the First Amendment being “infringed” here? Are people under the age of 21 incapable of having value in our society?
Instead of wasting our time worrying about what really happened, we came up with the genius idea to create our own awards. The “ITBest Awards” will be given out to the places that I think are the best in Raleigh. There will be no online voting to increase pageviews, no user submissions, and no opinions from others. Stay tuned.
As for the WRAL awards, Bill Leslie won the “Best Twitter Personality” category. I received honorable mention. That’s right, the host of the event announced that “William Needham Finley IV” received honorable mention in front of the whole crowd. What a time to be alive. #ITBlessed.
And yes, I’m fine with the result. I know that I’m more than just a Twitter personality. I’m a media empire. Oh, and I made sure to let WRAL know about the potential age discrimination when I took their feedback survey even though I didn’t attend the event.
Also, congrats to Rise for winning the “Best Biscuits” award. I’ve got a pretty good feeling they’ll be taking home an “ITBest Award” in 2018.
Thank you. Just to be nominated with such great company was a treat. pic.twitter.com/0pEWiFOW01
— Rise Cameron Village (@RiseCameronVlg) January 17, 2018