Fracking Becomes Main Topic

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The controversial drilling method known as “fracking” has become a hot topic in the Athens area and neighboring Ohio counties.  Just in the month of January there were numerous stories on the subject in various publications.

The Athens Messenger ran three separate stories centered on fracking. 

These stories range from local schools considering training students for jobs in the oil field, to events around campus about fracking.  

On January 20th, The Post published a story about possible oil and gas accidents that could be caused by drilling. 

The editor for The Athens NEWS, Terry Smith, says that a lot of their early reporting on fracking was about what was involved in horizontal hydraulic fracturing, and whether Athens County would be a likely place to do the drilling.

The Athens NEWS published “The Best of Athens 2012” this month. 

Fracking was voted number one in four different categories: Best Local Government or University Proposal, Best Local Controversy or Scandal, Most Annoying Local Controversy, and Best Example of Local Media Snoozing. 

Writers for the paper did not completely understand why fracking came in first in the Best Example of Local Media Snoozing category. 

“Every year when we ask our readers to vote for the best example of media snoozing they vote overwhelmingly for something The Athens NEWS has covered almost literally to death.”  

Despite public opinion, news sources on fracking abound. 

Almost all the news organizations in Athens have covered an element of fracking including: the Post, WOUB, the Athens Messenger, and the Athens NEWS

When searching the word “fracking” on The Athens News’ website, it reveals 12 stories on the topic just in the last week.  However, there have been no final decisions made about whether or not there will be drilling in Athens or other Southeastern Ohio counties, making the debate a key topic for discussion in the coming months.   

Smith went on to say,“The fact that all these companies have shown such a big interest in Southeast Ohio and Athens suggests that it could be a big story for a while.”