OLD Media Moves

Digging to get the story

May 25, 2008

Dennis Ryerson, the editor of the Indianapolis Star, writes Sunday about how the paper’s business columnist, John Ketzenberger, dug to get the story behind the abrupt closing of a local company.

John KetzenbergerRyerson writes, “After talking to the top people at Frank Irish, after talking to a local banking analyst, and after reading financial reports regarding National City Bank, the mechanical company’s Cleveland-based lender, John called National City for a comment. He was told, as is understandable in such situations, that the bank couldn’t comment on an individual customer’s situation other than to say that ‘we did everything possible to work with the customer.’

“John’s column did a wonderful job of filling in the dots to help readers understand how such a large, old and active Indianapolis company suddenly would end up closing its doors. He provided a lot of what we call ‘color’ by noting that owner John Irish received a call that his company had hit bottom — it was being shut down — while he was dining at a Rock Bottom chain restaurant.

“National City officials, though, were not happy. Although John advised a bank spokesperson of what he had learned about how the Frank Irish financing fell apart, and though the bank didn’t point out any errors in that aspect of the column, John didn’t ask the bank specifically about any cause-effect relationship between the subprime debacle and Frank E. Irish Co.”

Read more here.

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