27 September 2008

When hum meets chum

First there was "Adios Indy."

Here's how Ryan Cleary described it:

Brian Dobbin, the publisher and financial backer, says his interest is not in Newfoundland anymore. Which is a shame to hear from the Newfoundlander who put so much of the hum in the Humber Valley. He’s disillusioned with this place, to put it mildly, but I’ll leave it to Dobbin to tell his own story. I don’t know the details.

Poor Brian is disillusioned.  Terrible news. Dobbin apparently lost money on the Indy venture over its entire lifespan which, Cleary suggests, was undertaken solely out of Dobbin's interest in journalism and getting to the bottom of stories.

Like the Terra Nova one Cleary mentions. 

What Cleary failed to mention was that the single source they used to support the piece recanted as soon as the thing hit the shelves. The Hibernia one Dobbin was supposedly interested in is also a pack of nonsense.  Cleary never printed anything on it because it doesn't exist.  They couldn't find anything,

Regular Bond Papers readers will recognise Cleary's version of things as a spin job.  You know spin:  it's the word public relations people use instead of the less polite term "bullshit".

Ryan - intrepid fact and truth uncoverer that he claims to be - wasn't happy with just mere "spin" so he torqued things  a bit more for a two-parter in The Current:

From my perspective, I say that Dobbin put a high price on the paper to ensure that any new owner was serious about the newspaper business.

Ryan's writing gives new meaning to "60 cycle hum".

Well, turns out that Cleary missed a hum alright, a hum-dinger of a story.

A handful of months after Disillusioned Dobbin killed the Indy, we discover that Humber Valley is in the hole to the tune of $50 million.

What's worse:

Apparently there was an operational debt of one million dollars per month to run the resort and one and a half million dollars per month to offer the direct flights from Gatwick to Deer Lake.

The monthly losses at the resort were being financed by the parent company and this was threatening the financial well being of the entire company.


Sounds just like the Indy, which Cleary says cost Dobbin $2.0 million in losses even though - as they always claimed - it was on the verge of breaking even.

Another story, entirely, right there and Ryan missed it.  


Did he ever bother to ask what his free flight cost the company?

If only he'd thought to ask, maybe he'd have had a much bigger story than the one he wrote at the time.

In the meantime, the Humber Valley resort was a great concept.  let's hope it can be salvaged.