Viewpoint – Jan. 13, 2014

Union vote worse for Seattle than for S.C.
Several weeks before the Machinists union voted by a margin of 51% to 49% to approve a contract extension to keep the 777X aircraft in Washington state, the Washington Aerospace Partnership took out a full-page ad in The Seattle Times to emphasize what Boeing means to the Pacific Northwest. (Click here to see ad.)

The problem was that they used an image of an Airbus jet instead of a Boeing aircraft in the ad. That mistake caused some embarrassment for the people responsible for the ad, but it also led some opinion writers and the Washington governor’s office to consider it might be a mistake of opportunity.

If Boeing wanted to go to another state, then why shouldn’t Washington make a play for Airbus? It was a moment of enlightenment that might have ended with the union vote.

Seattle suddenly knew what Charleston and many Southern states have known for a while: We are competing for economic development opportunities on a global scale, and you have to fight and scratch and claw yourself to the top of the heap if you want to win jobs.

The union vote likely means Washington state will continue to enjoy the security of a labor contract and has no incentive to reimagine itself beyond the next 10 years, which isn’t good for Seattle. But it’s probably good for South Carolina, which now has renewed incentive to grow its aerospace recruiting skills.

Our best chance to establish a legacy of aerospace experience is to build on the foundation of the 787 program because the 777X isn’t the last jet that Boeing will need to build, and South Carolina’s aerospace workers know their job security is earned, not negotiated.


‘Blogs aren’t news’
That’s what one Charleston television news reporter tweeted after being called out by Post and Courier social media editor Andy Paras for using her position to shop while hundreds of non-journalists waited outside for a new retail store to open.

Viewpoint SCREEN CaptureAs Paras pointed out, two television reporters working for WCBD-TV and WCSC-TV took to social media to express their joy at beating the crowds in mid-December for the opening of the H&M retail store on King Street while everyone else waited outside.

The H&M store opening was a big deal for shoppers and for businesses that will benefit from increased retail traffic in downtown Charleston. That’s why reporters were invited to come early to get a look at the store and cover the news.

The shopping and tweeting by Meaghan Wallace of Channel 5 and Haley Hernandez of Channel 2 was bad enough, but then Hernandez got defensive online when she dismissed criticism by tweeting that “blogs aren’t news” and revealed that she had used her press access to come in on her day off and shop. Wallace deleted her early access tweet.

Several local bloggers and public relations professionals went to Twitter to correctly assert that blogs can be news, especially a blog like Paras’, which is part of a newspaper operation and frequently finds a national audience.

Hernandez would have done well to stop trying to defend her position, which was indefensible and disrespectful to her viewers. Or at least apologize for not considering her unintended message that the rules don’t apply to journalists. This was a case of two reporters who weren’t thinking, and that’s the last thing we need in news.

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