Saturday, February 26, 2005

Durel says BellSouth threat is 'economic blackmail'

In the story with the long title "Durel says BellSouth threat is 'economic blackmail'; BellSouth exec denies he threatened anything" the Advertiser publishes an early story on BellSouth's response to getting cited for threatening (or at least implying so strongly that no one could be left with a grain of doubt as Mike reported earlier) Lafayette with the loss of Cingular jobs.

As I noted earlier earlier what was different about this "rapid respone" press conference was that LEDA came along for the first time. Mike reports that
Gothreaux outlined 18 million dollars in government support for building that call center and promised that it would keep it open and staff it with at least 750 jobs for 10 years. The Advertiser doesn't mention this salient fact and barely mentions LEDA's attendence. In fairness the Advertiser has taken to publishing early drafts of major stories on the day that the break and updating them to more complete status when the full story publishes the next morning.

But as unaccountable as that ommission seems the Advertiser does provide us with direct acces to both Bill Oliver's letter to the Advocate and the text of Joey Durel's prepared statements on the issue. Adding supporting documents like these are a real service to the community by allowing for independent interpretation by readers of crucial documents. I hope the Advertiser continues the practice--its a good one and its worth congratulating them for doing so.

Update 8:30 2/27/05: the new version of the story, located at the same URL as the original linked to above does a good job of bringing out what I had found absent in the first version: Greg Gouthreaux's and LEDA's participation, the amount Louisiana and Lafayette "invested" in the center and BellSouth's legal and financial obligations.

3 comments:

GumboFilé said...

For a story whose most threatening quote is, "Would you still keep people there?", this story has generated a lot of hot air. The headline is the only place where the word "threat" or "warn" even appears. Anyone who knows anything about journalism knows that the purpose of a headline is not to summarize the story, but to get you to read it. By the time you get to the story it's reduced to, "BellSouth could pull its Cingular Wireless call center out of Lafayette, a BellSouth official said Thursday", with no corroborating quote. This story sensationalizes without offering any context. If Mr Oliver really made this threat he's certainly done a disservice to your opposition, but I'd really like to see a transcript of the conversation.

Anonymous said...

Thank God, people from Grand Couteau won't be able to vote on this issue.

GumboFilé said...

You'd think with all the problems in Grand Coteau that I wouldn't care about this issue. One of the reasons I'm so vocal is that I'm a partner in a family business that's been in Lafayette for over 40 years. I'll bet I pay more in city taxes and LUS bills than you, yet I don't get a vote. How fair is it that you might be able to force me to subsidize your fiber habit?