Over the past three days the media have been covering my story of winning the internship with Charlie Sheen and the eventual reality that the whole event was a carefully orchestrated stunt to better my chances of actually winning. I want to take a moment to discuss the media, how I managed to manipulate the system somewhat and document the level of thought that went into the planning of this audacious stunt.
The planning for Tuesday’s claim began last week when I was brainstorming to come up with a way of creatively meeting the brief for round three of the competition. I deciphered from previous correspondence that internships.com seemed to contact successful candidates approximately seven days after a submission date. This would mean the successful applicants would most likely find out on Friday, April 1st.
I decided that Tuesday, March 29th would be the ideal day to break the winning story in order to maximise the return on press coverage, which in turn would help my application. I broke the story at 10am on Twitter. The reason I chose 10am was because I knew it would be 3am PST and the folks at internships.com would not be able to confirm or deny the story until at least 4pm GMT. This gave me a six hour window of opportunity to get as much publicity as possible before anyone could call ‘shenanigans.’
UTV Press Coverage
Within fifteen minutes of posting my winning status on Twitter I received a phone call from the press desk at UTV asking if I could confirm the story was true. At this point I had to maintain my position in order to see how much coverage I could get. The research team asked me to forward them the email to confirm the validity of the story and so I passed on a screenshot of the photoshopped winning email.
Having a background in graphic design was absolutely essential in convincing people of my story. A shoddy piece of design work could have instantly discredited the claim and would have made it impossible to convince the media otherwise. Typeface, colours and layout would all have to be consistent. You can see a comparison below:
Over the course of the day the research team asked me to forward through other emails to confirm the story. As I had actually progressed to the final round of the competition this part was easy. Additionally, the research team contacted my lecturer, Christopher Murphy, to check the veracity of my story.
I had every eventuality accounted for as I had carried out the work in the planning phases. The journalism on the media’s behalf was thorough and cannot be faulted. This was a believable story with enough evidence to quash any doubts which could have arisen.
In the Press
I have been documenting everything I possibly can over the past few days; newspapers, radio clips, TV footage and web articles. I am including what I have here to show the extent as to which the story was covered.
- The Belfast Telegraph
- The Daily Mirror (UK and Ireland)
- The Sun
- The Irish News
All links are in mp3 format.
- Today FM: Ian Dempsey
- Citybeat 96.7/102.5fm
- Radio Ulster’s Talkback: Wendy Austin
- i105-107fm: The Zara King Show
- Spin 1038
- BBC News: Charlie Sheen internship hoax by NI man Jonny Campbell
- The Journal: Belfast student wins job as Charlie Sheen’s intern
- Digital Spy: Charlie Sheen’s ‘intern’ admits to hoax
- IMDB: Charlie Sheen’s ‘intern’ admits to hoax
- The Mirror: Brit student lands job managing Charlie Sheen’s Twitter account
- The Examiner: Belfast man hoodwinks TV station with Sheen tweeter hoax
- TV3: New Sheen intern is Irish
- Belfast Telegraph: Belfast man is Charlie Sheen’s new intern
- UTV: Belfast student explains Sheen stunt
- Hollywood.com: Fascinating fact
- Media Lightbox: Creating a Hoax to become the Best Candidate
- USATODAY.com: Fascinating Fact
- Business Week (Exchange): Charlie Sheen internship is hoax
- NewsTalk: Tuesdays Top 5 at 5! Stories from today
- The Celebrity Cafe: Charlie Sheen’s New Twitter Helper
- Limerick Live95FM: Belfast Student Explains Sheen Stunt
- NewsWhip: Charlie Sheen Internship fake?
- Mode Bay Area: No more golden ticket?
- Charlie’s Winning: #Tigerbloodintern potential lies about winning
- Student Pulse: Campbell’s bi… winning