My friend Adam Levy, who is the Atlanta bureau chief of Bloomberg News, is not prone to be giving out compliments to his competitors. So when he was on the UNC campus today to interview internship candidates, I was surprised to hear him laud the coverage of the Georgia-Pacific/Koch deal by the Atlanta Constitution.
Adam said he was particularly impressed with the story in Thursday’s paper that detailed the behind-the-scenes negotiations between the two companies that disclosed there was an earlier bidder for G-P. He also liked this morning’s story about the sweetheart deal the G-P CEO is getting as a result of the deal.
Adam attributed the stronger coverage at the AJC, where I worked from 1994 to 1997 covering Coke and Home Depot, to some new editors on the business desk.
These are the kind of nuts and bolts stories that have to be done by any hometown newspaper for a deal involving one of its local companies. But in so many cases, I don’t see these stories done. For example, the Greensboro News & Record, which I complimented earlier in the blog for its coverage of the Jefferson-Pilot/Lincoln National deal, has really failed to follow up the breaking news with these type of follow-up stories.
As a result, the Greensboro readers don’t know how the deal was negotiated or whether the Jefferson-Pilot CEO and other executives are receiving a financial windfall for selling the company. The Greensboro editors may not think this is an important story, but it’s a story that would be widely read.