The world may well have a new contender for Best Accidental News Post ever. On Monday, Oct, 2, National Public Radio (NPR) posted a story on its social media channel -- but not their usual insightful, intellectual kind. NPR's accidental Facebook post was about a baby named Ramona. And yes, it was adorable.
The original Monday night post, which was later changed, read,
Ramona is given new toy: Smiles, examines for 20 seconds, discards.
Ramona is given a hug: Acquiesces momentarily, squirms to be put down.
Ramona sees three cats 30 feet away: Immediately possessed by shrieking, spasmodic joy that continues after cats flee for their lives.
The post was published — and quickly deleted — by NPR swing editor Christopher Dean Hopkins, according to an article published by NPR on Tuesday morning about the error.
The initial post about Ramona was edited and replaced with an apology twelve minutes later, explaining that the post was "intended for a personal account."
We don't generally delete posts, so I tried to do it in a way that would be transparent. My job is to promote our good work, and I catastrophically failed in that last night.
His mistake is our adorable gain.
Ramona is apparently a not-quite-a-year-old baby -- not a cat, like some early articles claimed. (It's not entirely clear whose baby Ramona is, but we're happy about it either way.)
NRP is taking the mistake post in stride. They even posted to their followers on social media to further explain the situation once news had gotten out.
And if people were upset about the mistake, they sure didn't seem to show it. Many commented on the Facebook post with jokes and appreciation, saying things like,
Can Ramona updates be a new NPR feature?
In fact, people were clamoring for more before long, using the hashtag #Ramona, #RamonaUpdates, and #BringBackRamona.
While they could've roasted NPR on Twitter and Facebook, people seemed generally empathic, and even grateful, to both the social media manager and NPR for brightening their day with the adorable post.
We've all been there and had those days when you just click the wrong button. It's not the end of the world, and as mistakes in the media industry go, this is a pretty benign -- not to mention cute -- one.
And in a way, we're all happy for the mistake. NPR's error provided a much-needed moment of relief from the storm of stressful and depressing news that recent days have brought. Between the tragedy in Las Vegas, where a shooter killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 at a concert on Oct. 1 and the ensuing debates about gun control, on top of tensions with North Korea and the devastation in Puerto Rico after two hurricanes, the news world was a grim place indeed. Who wouldn't want to hear about a baby named Ramona after all this?
The Ramona post soothed souls not only because of its content -- though let's be clear, everyone loves a good baby anecdote -- but because we all needed a laugh.
Posting something accidentally, sending that email to the wrong colleague -- it happens to the best of us, and it's usually mortifying when it does, so it's downright funny when it happens to someone else. And miraculously, there was a happy ending. It was a win-win situation.
To prove how much they truly appreciated the mistake, NPR fans apparently even started a Change.org petition (yes, really) calling for more of Ramona and the cat. In addition to asking for a raise for the editor who made the post, the petition says,
This post gave joy to so many of your dedicated readers, and we want more! We want to thank you, and show our love (and how much we relate) to Ramona, the cats, the writers, and all of NPR.
The petition, by the way, now has 578 supporters as of 4 pm. E.T. on Oct. 3.
If your heart isn't sufficiently warmed after this story, there is something seriously wrong.