August 22, 2007 | Mark Paradies

HEADLINE: “Nuclear Fuel Hazards Kept Secret at Tennessee Plant” – Sensationalism or Facts?

See the link below for an AP story on incidents at a nuclear fuel plant in Erwin, TN.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/5069951.html

I know that reporters have to make their stories readable, but does the author, Ducan Mansfield, have to be so sensational?

Words and phrases like:

“three-year veil of secrecy”

“could have caused a deadly, uncontrolled nuclear reaction”

“revealed”

“stinging letter”

seem to be used to sensationalize administrative action to keep national security issues secret while releasing information about incidents at the Nuclear Fuel Services plant.

If the author wanted to, he could have used this sensational headline:

“Environmental Activists Disregard National Security
in Hopes of Damaging the Nuclear Industry”

What can incident investigators learn from this? Don’t think that your incident investigations will receive fair and balanced coverage.

Environmental activists and reporters may have an agenda. Whether the agenda is to get a story published or to damage a company, regulatory agency, or industry, may not be clear – but it makes little difference if your company’s reputation is damaged in the process.

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