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Scott Hamilton On Reporting The (Aviation) News

Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:20 pm

He ends his weekly commentary with some excellent perspective on covering the issues "out there" in aviation today.
Here are a few of his points:

This falls into that not-sure-how-to-classify-it category
We marvel at how people, inside and out, of Boeing and Airbus, and their supporters,
often react to news stories, analyst reports and blogs. The vitriol that often emerges in
response to some report never ceases to amaze us, and reactions within Boeing and
Airbus often demonstrate a total misunderstanding of real world workings of media,
blogs and observers.
It’s natural for Airbus and Boeing people to be defensive about negative news, or
anything that is perceived not to be positive. But honest, credible writers from whatever
walk of life have to be willing to discuss the good and the bad. . . .

We’re aware of instances in which the manufacturers have cut off writers and analysts
because of things written they did not like. We know of at least one case where efforts
were made to get the reporter fired and others in which serious attempts were made to
discredit reporters or analysts with other reporters or their bosses. Such efforts merely
reinforce the resolve of the writers and analysts to demonstrate they can’t be intimidated.
Another friend, Richard Aboulafia, is often the target of criticism. He’s loathed (that’s the
only word for it) by pro-Airbus people who think Richard is anti-Airbus. While we think
that Richard is sometimes too harsh on Airbus and we completely disagree with his anti-
A380 position, his observations are on the whole have little to quibble with in our view.
We engage a good-natured tit-for-tat debate over the A380 and related issues that we both
enjoy even if we go away thinking the other guy is nutty.
Although Richard is viewed as in Boeing’s pocket, he was very critical of Boeing’s
miserly research and development funding from 1997-2003, the lack of strategy and
incompetent management under Phil Condit. People forget those days (just as they ignore
our hammering Airbus during the A380/A350 mess or asking the question of ILFC’s
Steve Hazy that blew up the A350 program as it then existed).
It just happens to be Boeing’s turn back on the hot seat now, but this, too, shall pass.
Once the 787 enters service and certainty is forthcoming over the 747-8 and 777F
programs, all will be forgotten. The airplanes will be great products.

There's much more, but you'll have to read the entire commentary. I just thought it was a remarkably candid account of the difficulties of covering this business and being in the middle where everyone can take their shots at you. Sounds like the frustration isn't merely confined to!
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".

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