Cwmbran Life has featured all sorts of random stories but never one about a celebrity. On Saturday I published this story “Dane Bowers has signed to play for Cwmbran Celtic football club“.

Now this isn't a Fleet Street scoop but it hit the quirky spot for Cwmbran Life. I thought it would be interesting to go through what happened from hearing the rumour to pressing publish.

It took around a week to get it confirmed and feeling happy to pressing publish. Journalists will laugh at that but as I have a lot of personal links to Cwmbran Celtic the long time was simply down to:

I didn't want to piss off anyone at the club.

When I worked for the South Wales Argus I once covered a serious assault trial at Newport Crown Court where one of the defendants lived about five doors away from me….and I went to school with him.

Now that is a quick lesson in making sure your reports are accurate and balanced. Of course, you can't compare a criminal trial with checking if a former boyband member is playing football but the feeling behind it is the same when you're a hyperlocal blogger.

When you can bump into someone you've written about at the local pub or while parking your car outside your house after work there can be extra issues if you get something wrong.

My first 'Dane Bowers tip off' came the week before last from looking at the google searches that led to hits on Cwmbran Life. A few appeared along the lines of 'does Dane Bowers play for Cwmbran Celtic?' and 'has Dane Bowers signed for Cwmbran Celtic?'. I've picked up a few blog posts in this way.

I once blogged about Dane Bowers being spotted in Cwmbran by lots of people on Twitter. He was visiting his girlfriend Sophia Cahill.

A few days later I spotted a tweet from someone closely related to a senior person at Cwmbran Celtic saying that Dane had signed for the club. We all know people share things on Twitter without thinking so I knew I'd better follow it up with the club and not put this person on the spot.

Someone else at the club tweeted something that basically said: “Dane has signed for Cwmbran Celtic. Honest. No rumour.”

On Wednesday morning I contacted an old mate involved in the club and he wasn't aware of the signing but by the end of the day he emailed to say he had found out it was true. I said I wouldn't publish until I could get an official comment from the club…or Dane.

So on Wednesday night I sent Dane a tweet but to be fair he has 74,000 followers and regular retweets and comments so mine would not have stood out. On Friday I tweeted him and Sophia but my tweets weren't picked up.

On Saturday morning I called a mate I thought still played for Celtic. He suggested trying a senior member of the committee and luckily I had this man's phone number.

In a quick conversation I explained that people were talking about the signing on Twitter so would the club be happy if I blogged about something that wasn't a secret?

Journalists will laugh at the '…would they be happy...' request.

But as a hyperlocal blogger you haven't got Dane Bowers' mobile number so you're a bit stuck. And I doubt a small blog in south Wales is on his website favourites. I also live in the middle of the community and the club may have been keen to keep it a bit quiet. I don't know. But I did know as I mentioned earlier:

I didn't want to piss off anyone at the club

Thinking about it I also hope I haven't annoyed Dane. Maybe if he replies to my tweet request for an interview I can ask him ๐Ÿ™‚


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