At what point is it official?
From time to time, when recent group changes are discussed, people come down hard on blogs like this one that report news before the press release comes out. They use harsh words against both the story and its messenger, including “rumor” and “gossip.”
I most certainly do not engage in gossip, and even more especially in this forum. I hear things once in a while which are not for repeating on a public forum, and I most certainly do not repeat them.
But the “rumor” is a touchier business. Some people would have you believe that a story is a rumor until an official press release comes out. Some website owners from various websites even take it a step farther and say that it is not official until it is in a press release posted on their website.
However, I have a different standard. When Brian Free confirms in an email that Keith Plott is leaving the group, or Bryan Hutson confirms that he’s returning to the Kingsmen, then those changes are no longer rumor. [EDIT, 11/7/10: Regrettably, the link is broken, so it has been removed.]
Is it completely official at that point? Probably not. Groups often wait to send a press release until they find a replacement, sometimes two months later. And to top it off, once they find a replacement, they often wait a month or two to make sure the replacement works out before sending out a press release. It’s not unheard of to wait three months or more for an official press release. Until that point, I am content to take the word of either the singer involved or the manager of the group involved.
Once the singer or group manager of the group (or, in certain cases, either group) involved has confirmed a departure, it is no longer a rumor. To call it a rumor (or, worse, “gossip”) after that point is a reflection on the person who obtained the confirmation, more or less questioning that they are telling the truth when they say that the person involved confirmed the story.
Even before the Internet age, reporters who wanted to confirm a story would seek confirmation from the persons involved. Many of the biggest stories in American (and World) History were written without a press release. In this Internet age, it is no different. You don’t have to have a press release to have a story, especially if you can confirm it from other reliable sources.