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 Fletcher Hartsell to use its unpublished video as a blatant political tool, we want to learn more about how this story was developed and who influenced the content.”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.
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.
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