Having a rock star jump on the back of your motorcycle after you stopped to help him on the side of the road could be a lyric in a Bruce Springsteen song. But it really happened for a group of veterans in New Jersey _ and the AP was first to report the story that naturally went viral.
Late Saturday evening, New Jersey News Editor Josh Cornfield had wrapped up a weekend BNS shift when he got a tip that an American Legion post in Freehold, N.J., had posted a photo of one of their members with Springsteen. As it happened, a group from the legion had been out riding after a Veterans Day event when they noticed a stranded biker. Figuring “bikers gotta stick together,” they stopped to help.
Turns out, the stranded biker was The Boss.
More than 300 member sites ran with the story, according to NewsWhip. And it ranked No. 8 on AP Exchange, No. 18 in hosted, No. 24 in Big Story and No. 29 in Mobile.
Recognizing the potential for the story, Cornfield quickly reached out to the legion post to see if he could talk to the guys who had helped Springsteen, and even more pressing, to get permission to use the photo of biker Dan Barkalow and Springsteen.
Within 90 minutes Saturday night, he’d not only published a story but secured rights to the photo. He talked to the bikers, who tried to help Springsteen get his bike going, but then gave him a lift to a local bar and had a beer and friendly conversation until his ride showed up. More than 300 member sites ran with the story, according to NewsWhip. And it ranked No. 8 on AP Exchange, No. 18 in hosted, No. 24 in Big Story and No. 29 in Mobile.
Cornfield’s fast work on a Saturday night to ensured getting the story from the men, who later refused to talk to more media after the story took off and their original Facebook post devolved from a fun story about helping a fellow biker from Freehold to stream of political vitriol.
For recognizing the potential news value in this weekend Facebook post and moving quickly to both secure the critical UGC and comment from the bikers, Josh Cornfield wins this week’s Best of the States and its $300 prize.