NBC4 reporter Pat Collins made headlines yesterday after his quirky news segment about a vandalized car that was spray-painted with the phrase “Mike is a cheater” went viral (the car did not, it turned out, belong to Mike). But it wasn’t just the misplaced crime that garnered attention: Collins’ dramatic delivery also sparked a great deal of Twitter chatter. (The clip has already been turned into a catchy song.) We called up Collins to hear more about the Mike brouhaha.
This news clip is all over Twitter and it’s getting picked up by other outlets. What does it feel like to go viral?
You go out and do stories and sometimes they just take off. I’m thrilled that it’s gone viral; I’m thrilled that a lot of people see it and are interested in it. When something like this happens, that’s over the moon. It makes me want to know more about Mike: what he did and who did this to this poor woman’s car.
Something like this catches on. Years ago, I did a story about this young man who got suspended from school because he put on a banana costume and ran across the football field during halftime of the game. When I did the story, I dressed up as a grape. If you go on YouTube, you can see it. It has an incredible number of hits on YouTube. You just never know.
Why do you think this particular story caught on?
Everybody has a story in your life about someone who they know who’s gone out to exact some sort of vengeance for some wrongdoing. And the fact that it’s misguided hit another chord, because if you’re going to go through all this trouble to exact vengeance, you would think you’d know where the offender lives and would know what car he drives.
Your delivery also played a role in the clip’s virality.
I have a style. I admit to that—I confess to that style. I think more people like it than hate it, which is good for me. I’m a storyteller, and so when I tell a story and people enjoy listening to the story, that gives me great joy.
Have you learned anything new about Mike since the story took off?
There are a couple people out there who think they know who Mike is, only because they haven’t seen this so-called Mike around the neighborhood for a number of days. But that’s just supposition on their part.
Have you heard the song version? What are your thoughts on it?
Well, I love the words. And I love the beat. I’ll give it a three out of four stars.
What would it take to get to four stars?
A backup group.
Do you have a final message for Mike?
Change your ways, Mike! Repent! And then call me.