Alcoa files public records request for public TV reporter’s unedited work

A view of Badin Lake from a back yard along its banks. The lake was created by Alcoa in 1917.

A view of Badin Lake from a back yard along its banks. The lake was created by Alcoa in 1917.

The next step in the Alcoa and UNC-TV saga became clear in a post by UNC public radio reporter Laura Leslie on Friday.

Alcoa wants to see all of the UNC TV reporter’s work.

UNC-TV recently complied with a subpoena from a legislative committee to share unaired footage from a story about Alcoa, an aluminum company that owns and operates dams along the Yadkin River and Badin Lake in North Carolina. The committee was pushing a bill to create a trust that could assume ownership of Alcoa’s assets along the river and lake. It settled for passage of a bill that created the Uwharrie Resources Commission, which can file lawsuits and lease or own property.

Immediately after the subpoena, the public TV station rushed onto the air a three-part report about environmental issues for plant workers and for surrounding land, along with a disclaimer saying the report was aired without its usual customary editorial review.

Leslie quotes the letter from Alcoa:

“Given the story’s inherent bias, the inclusion of undocumented claims against Alcoa, the fact that the segment aired with a disclaimer at the beginning and end acknowledging that for the first time ever the station abandoned its customary editorial review process, along with UNC-TV’s decision to permit Sen. Fletcher Hartsell to use its unpublished video as a blatant political tool, we want to learn more about how this story was developed and who influenced the content.”

Related: A lovely end-of-session note from UNC public radio’s Laura Leslie, paying tribute to her dwindling state-government reporting colleagues and giving credit to Twitter for helping the smaller cadre of reporters collaborate. It’s definitely worth a read and some thought on the future of reporting on N.C. state government.

Photo credit: Jack Lail, via Flickr.

Big hat tip to @binker, a statehouse reporter for the Greensboro News and Record, for rounding up reporters’ posts about the end of the session.

Also related:
Opinion from The Charlotte Observer’s Jack Betts: Where’s the bravery from UNC officials?
Raleigh News and Observer story on the public records request.
Background on possible utility companies interested in operating Alcoa’s dams from the Charlotte Business Journal


One response to “Alcoa files public records request for public TV reporter’s unedited work

  1. Pingback: The UNC-TV disclaimer on a reporter’s work about Alcoa « Global Vue

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