OLD Media Moves

Columbus paper, an embargo, and getting scooped

March 13, 2006

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer newspaper in Georgia faced an interesting dilemma recently. It was offered the opportunity by the governor’s office in the state to have a reporter accompany the governer to South Korea for an announcement that car manufacturer Kia would build a plant in the area. The paper agreed to the embargo of the business story with the understanding that if its reporters were able to independently confirm the facts, it would publish.

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Then, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught wind of the story and published something in advance. The Ledger-Enquirer determined that its sources in the governor’s office had not leaked the story, and it went ahead with its own story.

Wrote executive editor Ben Holden: “We declined Kia’s offer to pay his expenses, because we don’t believe it is ethical to accept goods or services of material value from people or institutions we cover.

“The embargo has been lifted, and we’ll continue to pursue our watchdog role on behalf of the citizens of Georgia and the Chattahoochee Valley. Were $410 million of incentives too much? Will the 2,893 jobs really go to people of our community?

“With editors and reporters like Jerry, Chuck, Harry and business reporter Tony Adams on the case, we’ll do just fine.”

Read about the details here.

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