Every now and then one of the local TV News outlets here in the Bay Area will do a story on Yelp and such reporting has often been sensational and inaccurate. Friday night provides a typical example, FOX's KTVU did a short piece mostly focused on Rooz Cafe which was actually news in 2007.
Typically when something like this is put together the producer or reporter makes an actual effort to contact you for comment and background. In this case the reporter sent us a note at 7:48 PM on a Friday night for a story that was set to run that same evening. Clearly she had no intention of having us participate (her note mentions a phone call, to which there is no voice message in our phone system). In lieu of an actual quote for the story, Amber repurposed (without attribution) a quote that I provided to the NYTimes (though when watching the clip you may get the impression it was part of a statement to KTVU).
I fully understand that this is neither the first time, nor the last time Yelp will be the subject of questionable journalism. However I'm providing these details, to reiterate for everyone that you can't believe everything you see (true for reviews, but also true for traditional media too).
Below is her note:
Lee, Amber (CTV-Oakland)
date: Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 7:48 PM
subject: interview/statement request for news story
I am a reporter for KTVU, Channel 2, the Fox affiliate in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am working on a story about a business owner's complaint that his concerns about what he calls "false negative reviews of his cafe" and what he calls Yelp's lack of response. I also spoke with folks who support Yelp. We would like to speak with Yelp for this story . We tried calling you earlier, but received no response. I can be reached on my cell phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX or in the newsroom at XXX-XXX-XXXX. If you have trouble reaching me, ask for Mark Richardson, our assignment editor.
And the story at 10: