It all started when Jonathan Gotschall, who runs the social media accounts for Caroline’s Cupcakes, was out with friends in Canton, Ohio — where the bakery is located. One of those friends was part of LeBron James’ “inner circle”, and gave Gotschall some rather unbelievable news. This Facebook post ensued:
Caroline's Cupcakes broke this story almost a WEEK ago. The new vanguard of sports journalism? pic.twitter.com/ZuoyRZdstm
— Matt Lally (@Matt_Lally) July 11, 2014
Let the record show that Caroline’s Cupcakes, not Sports Illustrated, broke the LeBron James story. It’s a sign of the times: breaking news can come from anywhere. You don’t have to have a laminated press badge in the age of social media. All you need is a source, a computer, and a few pounds of flour and sugar (bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes).
And, is this real? If so, pretty awesome:
— Adam Gabrilowitz (@AdamGabrilowitz) July 10, 2014
It started Friday night. Gotschall was out with friends, including one guy who is part of James’ “inner circle” and has known the forward since his Akron days. The insider’s phone was blowing up with messages and Gotschall jokingly asked him what was up. He responded that James was definitely coming back to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Done deal.
So Gotschall, a huge sports fan, decided to share the good news, he said in an interview Monday between customers at the shop.
On July 5, thinking that other Cavs fans would get a kick out of it, he shared the following: “Just texting with a friend who is directly tied in with Lebron and his camp, and he swears on his life #TheReturn to Cleveland is a done deal. Per his sources, calls have already been made to other current Cavaliers to spread the news. If this is true, and like anything on the internet, take that with a grain of salt … are you ready to get out your old jersey and welcome Lebron home?!?”
He tweeted a similar message. It got noticed. A lot. On Sunday morning, Gotschall got his first of many texts with a link to a sports blog that had written about his post. From there, it was shared on Reddit, then NJ.com (the website of The Star-Ledger and affiliated papers), and so on until it was viral.
But did Caroline’s Cupcakes really break the story? Consider this Instagram post by Dwyane Wade’s wife from three weeks ago, in which she posted the word “Akron, Ohio” in large script, and added: “Home Sweet Home! The countdown is real. #330.”
But this is Caroline’s Cupcakes’ Day.
@jimrome They said it was a "done deal" days ago. From now on, I'm getting all of my sports news from Caroline's Cupcakes.
— Brockinthe920 (@Brockinthe920) July 11, 2014
And just like that Caroline's cupcakes is 100% in nba free agency @BarstoolBigCat
— C.S (@Cam_Jam45) July 11, 2014
I quit if Chris Broussard's "source" has been Caroline's Cupcakes in Cleveland — this whole time.
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) July 7, 2014
— Jason Tubbs (@djtubbz) July 11, 2014
READ: Other Big Stories That Were First Reported By Caroline’s Cupcakes [SportsGrid]