The Price of Advice

I got a call the other day from a perky and friendly woman in New York City asking for advice about Tennessee. This made everything else I was doing leap to the back burner–I was all ears. She told me that she had tracked me down through this blog–O Bliss–and needed help. Even better. She later sent me an email, so I’ll let her tale her tale in her own words:

My name is (out of mercy I will not name her) and I work for (Cheap Bastards) Entertainment, an Emmy award-winning television production company that produces programming for networks such as PBS, Discovery, History Channel, National Geographic, A&E and many others.

We are currently producing a new non-fiction television series about archaeological discoveries across America for the Discovery Channel. Our show is hosted by two young professional archaeologists/anthropologists who will meet with individuals who believe they’ve found objects or sites of historical, cultural or scientific importance. These scholars, both professors at major universities, will help participants and viewers better understand the significance of these discoveries (either through authentication, historical research, or other scientific methods), as well as the correct and ethical ways to approach potential sites and artifacts. We are really excited to bring our series to Tennessee – and we need your help!

We are interested in hearing from members of the public about interesting discoveries or sites. Whether it’s a guitar owned by Elvis Presley or a relic from the Civil War – we want to hear about it! As this show is about archaeological and anthropological science, we are not interested in talking to individuals who have obtained artifacts illegally or those who have been involved in the intentional looting or destruction of archaeological sites.

Any other ideas for other leads would be very welcome!

I told her that the best place for this sort of thing might be the many small museums across Tennessee–often housed in dusty courthouse rooms or in a storefront on the main street of a town that has been Wal-Marted. I told her that I could check my files, make some calls, and otherwise dig around. All I asked for this investment of time and sharing of knowledge was a credit on the show. I knew they would never shell out any money.

That’s when things went South. She said she would have to check with her producer, we exchanged a couple of emails, and the line went dead.

You gotta love it. You load 16 tons–researching and writing four editions of a guidebook, putting up a blog and website–and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in cynicism.

It doesn’t rhyme, and Tennessee Ernie would have had a hard time singing those words, but the role of coal miners in his time and content providers in our Brave New World aren’t that far apart.

3 Responses to The Price of Advice

  1. Marta Turnbull says:

    Academics are supposed to cite their work. The show, however, wants to use information and your work without crediting the source or paying for it. Outrageous!

  2. Ganne Tate Derrick says:

    I agree with Marta, it IS outrageous!! Shame on them for their own thievery. Give this TN Guy credit due him or get out!!

  3. I’m always willing to help out people like the woman in New York if I can do so without spending a lot of time on it. It is sad, however, that they weren’t willing to utilize your expertise effectively. An acknowledgment wasn’t too much to ask.

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