The Adtran Advocate

4:45 PM -- If you needed a mile marker for the state of the telecom trade press, feast your eyes on the unflinching coverage of Adtran by FierceMarket's Doug Mohney. The Nov. 21 post is a great place to start.

Doug writes that he accepted a free flight to Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN)'s corporate headquarters recently, something that a boring, less savvy journalist would usually turn down. Once there, Doug writes that the company was -- are you sitting down? -- extremely hospitable.

They "pushed all my happy-Geek buttons, and I'm still buzzing happy," he slobbers.

Ever the Fierce One, Doug goes on for another 400 words about what a great company Adtran has become. They have great engineers. Their tech support is a "beautiful story". They offer five-year warranties on assorted products. They offer free firmware upgrades.

Later, he chips in with details about an "impressive and humbling" Adtran facilities tour. "Adtran employs over 1,700 people, and most of them reside in Huntsville, including... manufacturing - yes, manufacturing in the good old USA," Doug writes, presumably with hand over heart.

Then, absurdly, he notes that 70 percent of the company's products are actually built in China. Oh. Well.

Later, Doug files three slideshows dedicated to every pedestrian occurrence at the vendor's (non-Chinese) manufacturing facilities. Then, there's a fourth slideshow that's nothing more than a junket recap of a reception dinner at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, complete with a photograph of the contents of a press goodie bag.

But fear not, those of you who think journalism is dead. Fierce pros like Doug can compartmentalize and remain fiercely objective, even in the face of a 4 p.m. hotel turn-down service and 300 thread-count sheets.

"Having just come from Huntsville, Alabama... and being wooed by good Southern Hospitality, I have a nice warm glow about ADTRAN," Doug writes in another November post filled with moonbeams.

I salute FierceMarkets and Doug Mohney for plumbing the depths of Huntsville to come back with stories that thrill, chill, and remind us all that telecom journalism is nothing if not a jungle.

Sure, it may be filled with plush toys and free food, but it is a jungle nonetheless.

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading

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