Thursday, November 18, 2004

LUS prepares for next move on fiber-to-home front

The Advertiser does its follow-up story, assessing or rather not assessing the significance of yesterday's vote and the likely path ahead purely in terms of it stodgy "he said, she said" style.

It's not that the story is bad, not really. It's that it isn't good. This method of writing is always mediocre and prone to systematic distortions.

An example of distortion: Early in the story the paper sites Councilman Broussard's bald assertion that they city wasn't really building fiber until it voted money. He tried to get Huval to agree with this assessment. Huval, perfectly aware that this is untrue, that Tuesday's vote was pivotal and decisive politically, declined to agree. He also declined to openly disagree with one of his bosses. A "Good Move," most would agree. But the underlying meaning was also crystal clear to anyone paying attention; including, I strongly suspect, Mr. Broussard. A mediocre story reports only what is clearly said and passes on. A better story would have noted that really, "according to those familiar with the politics of the matter" this vote was decisive and satisfying digital divide critics was probably the most significant barrier in a fight that now appears to be all downhill for the city. The opposition is in disarray and there is no significant group that distrusts LUS or believes the plan unworkable. A wrap-up story that doesn't get to these hard facts but relies only on what people are comfortable saying before cameras not only misses what is really important but actively distorts the meanings of events.

Lafayette deserves better.

No comments: