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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Waterfield Silence

You would think that media outlets would be all over the Waterfield Group story. Anything affecting Waterfield Group is big news.

The Waterfield-owned Union Federal is the largest Indiana-owned bank in Indianapolis. Waterfield Mortgage is one of of the 40 largest mortgage companies in the United States. In Fort Wayne alone, 750 employees - almost all white-collar - would be affected.

But the total number of news outlets reporting so far? 4.

Indiana Parley predicted on Sunday that an announcement should be expected before February 1. We're sticking by that judgment.

Indiana Parley reports that various changes have taken place at Waterfield in Fort Wayne that have shaken employee morale and left some employees with little to do. Certain security changes have been made that make it difficult for some employees to do their jobs.

So lets tally up the media attention so far. WTHR-TV 13 in Indianapolis had a story on December 23, 2005. The story was picked up by MSNBC. The story then disappears from the WTHR-TV website.

Sherry Slater of the Fort Wayne
Journal-Gazette does a story on January 05, 2006 about the story of WTHR-TV, the withdrawal of that story, rumors surrounding the company, and the denials and no comments issuing from the privately held Waterfield Group and the publically traded companies mentioned by WTHR-TV.

Then Indiana Parley weighed in with its prediction on January 8.

Indianapolis Business Journal and its reporting partner WISH-TV then have a separate report on January 10. Quoting from the IBJ story:
A deal for Waterfield may already be in the bag, according to Darli Stoughton, president of the Greater Indianapolis Mortgage Bankers Association.

"It's been confirmed by some Waterfield employees," Stoughton told IBJ. "Some of the Waterfield people have already gotten retention offers from American Home Mortgage."
Fort Wayne television stations? Nothing. Fort Wayne News-Sentinel? Nothing. Indianapolis Star? Nothing. Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly? Nothing**.

More: Purdue awarded Fort Wayne's Richard Waterfield an honorary degree in 2005. See the Waterfield biography here.

* WISH-TV and Indianapolis Business Journal are being considered here as one reporting entity.
** Addendum: Fort Wayne Business Weekly did make a note on its website late Tuesday citing the WTHR-TV story. See Fort Wayne Observed.

The Journal Gazette and IBJ articles included several key errors and omissions. The Indy TV report was pulled in a few hours because it couldn't be corroborated. And Biz Weekly did a short item.
IP has acknowledged the BizWeekly mention in its Fort Files.

Perhaps you could enlighten us as to the nature of the E's and the O's?
With the resignation of Doug LeDuc, the News-Sentinel no longer has a single business reporter.
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