From the Keyser WV Mineral Daily News-Tribune:
Mon Feb 01, 2010, 05:49 PM EST
Keyser, W.Va. - Biased reporting on wind creates false job impression
To the Editor:
I just finished reading the article on the wind technician jobs being bandied about by Wind Force. The “facts” cited appear to be solely based on information from Mr. David Friend, who stands to make a sizable amount of money from this project. That suggests that he is not likely to present an balanced view on anything that pertains to Wind Power. Every article I have seen you print on this subject seems to quote WindForce officials as source of true, factual information despite the obvious self interest that they have. This amounts to the paper being simply a public relations tool or them. I have never seen you seem even a tiny bit skeptical about their pronouncements despite inconsistencies in their statements published in your own paper.
Let’s look at the promised jobs. You report that they will hire six full time technician jobs who “climb several towers a day” for servicing. Again no mention of where these jobs are actually located. For your information these towers are monitored remotely, and the jobs may be in another state, or even California, where Mission Edison is located. Mr. Friend has made earlier comments as to the reliability of these units and that they do not need much maintenance. Which is it? If they need six people for 23 turbines, that equals 3.8 turbines per person. If you extrapolate this ratio to the Ned Power project and Mountaineer in Tucker Co. there should be approximately 40 of those jobs in the area.
Have you ever listed one of these jobs in your paper? Have you ever talked to one of these people? Have you ever checked any of these figures? Why have none of these people spoken up at any of the many wind power meetings that I have attended. The construction people have been at all of them and were quite vocal. I suspect it is because there are actually very few of these jobs, and they are not located in this area.
The interest in the ETC training program, mentioned in your article indicated a large number of people desperate for a good-paying job in the area. I fear that both the college and your blindly unquestioning reporting give false hope to people who might spend a lot of time and money to train for jobs that just are not there. It also makes the paper just look like a PR outlet for the wind industry. It is obvious that you have a strong personal pro wind stance, and that comes out in your reporting. You know that should be in the editorial section of the paper, and not in news stories.
I would love to see at least a tiny bit of effort to verify some of the “facts” that you report. A little balance would be nice too, as there are actually some serious problems with wind power, which you never give any press at all. I know that your paper has been provided much information on negative side. As a newspaper reporter, you have that professional responsibility to this community, to present a thoughtful, balanced, unbiased view, on the things affecting our area. Otherwise your work can be simply a tool to lead, and deceive your readers.
I am a long term reader of the News Tribune.
Keyser (West Virginia)