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Falling for the story hook, (air)line, and sinker : Problem in finding the story behind the headlines

SouthWest Airlines: Copyright Roads-2-Roam.com

SouthWest Airlines at Lovefield: Copyright Roads-2-Roam.com

According to ABC headline “Airline Hiring Taking Off as Travel Zooms“.

“It’s getaway day for millions of Americans with the start of the Memorial Day weekend. The travel industry is set to enjoy its best summer since 2007, just before the recession hit. The airline industry is slowly adding jobs after shedding workers in recent years. And more hires are likely in the next few months. The U.S. Transportation Department says passenger airlines employed more than 383,000 full-time workers in March, up nearly 1 percent from last year. Delta Air Lines added the most jobs, followed by US Airways, American, and Jet Blue. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air grew fastest in percentage terms, both posting double-digit gains. United Airlines and Southwest shed jobs.”

And that was it. Throw out a morsel to whet the information appetite but give no meat. The usual superficial ‘reporting’ by a US news source. “1%” is not much of a change. Come to think of it, wasn’t Spirit Airlines the airline rated lowest customer satisfaction for 5 years in a row, so what’s behind that double digit growth?

Thinking we have missed out on some trend somewhere on airlines expanding, we googled the news under variations of ‘airlines’ and ‘jobs’ and found nothing to support ABC’s headline.

We did find CBS DFW which had a different take on the same situation. Their headline was “Employment Up Slightly At U.S. Airlines“.

“WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. airline industry is slowly adding jobs — although not all carriers are growing”

“Dallas-based Southwest Airlines and its AirTran Airways subsidiary shrank by 1.4 percent.”Asociated Press. The model here is that AP puts out the articles to it’s members and the distributed media companies publish it with a tweak here and there. No need to employ an actual reporter. It looks like you have big coverage when in reality, you’ve outsourced your ‘news’.

The AP is the clue to this ‘story’ where AP is Associated Press. You may have heard of AP but never thought much about them. This is from their website ap.org, ‘about us ‘

“The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.”

The model here is that AP puts out the articles to it’s members and the distributed media companies publish it with a tweak here and there. No need to employ an actual reporter. It looks like you have big coverage when in reality, you’ve outsourced your ‘news’.

So let’s look at Southwest / AirTran part and cutting jobs. Seems to be that this is fallout after the acquisition at the expense of the Atlanta hub where it has cut back AirTran routes . This is also interesting in that Atlanta airport is Delta’s main hub and that Delta appears to have picked some of AirTran’s business. A net wash perhaps then for Atlanta (but not if you were part of the AirTran layoff).

Don’t know if there is more  story to this ‘story’ but the discerning thing to this all is the AP News-lite model. If your source was ABC, then you could go away thinking airlines are booming again. If your source was the CBS, it was more a ‘Meh’.

It seems that it is not just passengers who are missing their connections.

Trajan
 

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