Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Southeast Airlines shuts down, Dispatch snoozes

Were we unfair for suggesting several times in the past that the Dispatch's failure to cover the Southeast Airlines story showed what a joke their "business" reporting is? Hell no. Not when you have to read the following in other papers:
Southeast Airlines goes out of business

The embattled St. Petersburg-based charter airline cancels all flights, blaming fuel costs and heavy competition.

LARGO - Battling high fuel costs and federal inquiries into its safety, Southeast Airlines late Tuesday announced it was going out of business.

At the company's headquarters on Belcher Road in Largo, employees said company officials told them about 9 p.m. to turn off their computers, go home and not return today . . .
Yes, there was zilch about this in today's Dispatch.

We know there were some grumblings among the Dispatch about some of our posts, but the fact is that there is no news investigation or coverage going on, despite repeated heads up. We had at least thought that the editors would make sure that at least one of their staffers would monitor the Southeast situation.

The Business staff are now playing CYA by posting a brief patchwork of others' stories on the web site late in the morning. We can predict that they will have the token "human side" stories about how the rapid going-out-of-business will be a financial hardship for all the SEA-related staff at Rickenbacker Airport.

But the fact remains that if the reporting staff had been doing its job, employees and county officials would have been on alert and trying to head off the closure instead of just suffering the consequences.

God, we wish someone would do a real housecleaning in the Business section instead of sweeping the messes under the carpet.


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