white noise

by Keith Barber

white noise


Alcoa has requested more than 200 hours of raw video footage shot by UNC-TV senior legislative correspondent Eszter Vajda and her producer, Martin Sansone, for a documentary about the aluminum giant’s operations on the Yadkin River. Alcoa is attempting to seize control over a 38-mile stretch of the Yadkin that includes four hydroelectric dams for the next 50 years. Vajda and Sansone edited a 53-minute rough cut of the documentary entitled The Alcoa Story after the NC Senate Judiciary II Committee subpoenaed all of Vajda’s video footage and materials gathered during her research into allegations that Alcoa’s Badin Works aluminum smelting plant is responsible for PCB, arsenic and cyanide contamination of Badin Lake and the Yadkin River. In a July 9 letter to UNC-TV General Manager Tom Howe, Alcoa representative Rick Bowen requested “all video footage as well as all unedited, edited and final versions, photographs, compilations and related materials as well as all communications and/or correspondence sent or received by Eszter Vajda or any other employee or representative of UNC-TV” since Jan. 1, 2008 related to the conceptualization, origination, research, funding, compilation and editing of actual or potential programming. Vajda said she presented a proposal to UNC-TV last year to produce a documentary about Alcoa’s operations on the Yadkin but was told the station didn’t have the resources to underwrite the project. Vajda said she has not had access to her raw video footage since she handed over all of her tapes and materials to UNC-TV management last month. Steve Volstad, UNC-TV’s director of communications and marketing, would not comment on whether or not the station plans on fighting Alcoa’s request under the auspices of the state’s shield law for journalists. Volstad