How A Hockey Blog Got The Scoop On Russia's Meteorite

Fans of the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals were likely the first to learn of the meteorite that exploded over central Russia this past week. That's if they were reading the Russian Machine Never Breaks — a website devoted to the hockey team. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin talks with Chris Gordon and Peter Hassett, who blog for the site.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Fans of the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals were likely the first to learn of the meteorite that exploded over central Russia this past week - that is, if they were reading the Russian Machine Never Breaks. It's a website devoted to the Washington Capitals hockey team. Chris Gordon and Peter Hassett blog for the site, and they join us in our studios to explain how they unexpectedly broke this story. Welcome to the program, guys.

CHRIS GORDON: Thank you so much.

PETER HASSETT: Thank you.

MARTIN: So your site doesn't usually cover space phenomena, right? I mean, how did you come upon this story in the first place - Chris?

GORDON: Well, we have a Russian reporter, Fedor, and he follows some of the Capitals' Russian prospects.

MARTIN: OK.

GORDON: So he was just following Twitter and saw some chatter about this weird event over Chelyabinsk. It originally looked like maybe there was a missile or something, some streaks through the sky. And he eventually found more and alerted one of the other guys on our site, and it sort of came from there.

MARTIN: So you hear about this. Peter, how in the world did you verify it?

HASSETT: It was tough. We had to put together - well, multiple videos to make sure they sort of corroborated one another. But we saw that there were different videos from different angles showing the same thing, from different users. And we also had a North American goalie playing in Russia, in the area, who actually did a first-person tweet saying this just happened here. And so we thought, oh yeah, this actually checks out.

MARTIN: So we should point out, you did break this story. You beat the Associated Press by about an hour and a half. Is that right?

HASSETT: Isn't that strange? Yeah, I guess so.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: So, what kind of reaction have you received from all this?

GORDON: Well, it's been a little overwhelming. This is not our first foray into space. One of the other bloggers, Igor, works at Goddard, and he was part of NASA's mission that found ice on Mercury. (LAUGHTER) But it's been an interesting...

MARTIN: Who knew that blogging about hockey would take you to such exotic destinations?

GORDON: Yeah, I don't think any of us would have expected any of this stuff we've received, from doing this. But you know, some of the mainstream media has picked it up and sort of wondered, how the heck did these guys do this?

HASSETT: We're wondering that as well.

(LAUGHTER)

GORDON: Yes, I think that's a fair statement.

MARTIN: Peter Hassett and Chris Gordon write for the Washington Capitals fansite. It's called the Russian Machine Never Breaks. Thanks, you guys, for coming in.

HASSETT: Thank you.

GORDON: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE HOCKEY SONG")

STOMPIN' TOM CONNORS: (Singing)...is the best game you can name, and the best game you can name is the good old hockey game...

MARTIN: And you're listening to WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News.

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