Film Screening and Discussion Explores ‘The Run Coal Memos’

News Release Date: 
May 15, 2018

For Immediate Release

Film Screening and Discussion Explores ‘The Run Coal Memos’

LINCOLN, Neb. (May 15, 2018) – “The Run Coal Memos” will be screened at 1 p.m., Tuesday, May 29, at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Copeland Hall 142, 2507 11th Ave.

Part of the “Playing by the Rules: Ethics at Work” series, the film explores what led to the massive explosion killing 29 men in 2010 at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.

The screening and discussion event is open to the public and presented by NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations, in partnership with UNK’s College of Business and Technology and the Nebraska Safety Center.

The free event will examine how ethics play a major role in contemporary business practices and will challenge viewers to consider what they would do if their values were challenged at work.

“Nebraska Safety Center is committed to the safety of all miners and has served as the state Mine Safety and Health Administration grantee for the past 40 years. We are dedicated to the safety of everyone involved in mining at all levels,” said Mick Anderson, director of Nebraska Safety Center. “We offer a diverse portfolio of safety trainings, ranging from the mines to the roadways, and we are the statewide expert and resource for all areas safety,”

A discussion will follow the 30-minute film led by NET and safety specialists from the Nebraska Safety Center. Refreshments will served.

A campus map of Copeland Hall (abbreviated COPH) is available at

“The Run Coal Memos” takes a look at the massive explosion on April 5, 2010, which remains the deadliest mining disaster in America of the last 45 years.

Government  investigators blamed  the  tragedy  on  bad  management  and  a  culture fostered  by  the  company’s controversial  CEO,  Don  Blankenship,  who  they  say  placed  production  over  safety. Blankenship  would  eventually  be  convicted  of  conspiring  to  evade  mine  safety regulations;  just  days  ago  he  was  released  following  a  year  in  federal  prison.

In a report nearly 1,000 pages long, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration found that if basic safety measures had been in place, the disaster would not have happened.

“The Run Coal Memos” looks at the evidence uncovered by federal and state investigators surrounding allegations of safety violations and hazardous working conditions. Key to the government's case were the infamous "run coal memos," internal company documents which investigators say demonstrated a disregard for safety and a corporate attitude which put profits over people.

“Playing By the Rules: Ethics at Work” is a production of WNET, the parent company of New York’s public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV.

Major funding for “Playing by the Rules: Ethics at Work” was provided by Ronnie and Lawrence D. Ackman. Additional funding was provided by Betty and John Levin, Lise Strickler and Mark Gallogly, Patricia and Philip Laskawy and Graves and Colleen Tompkins.

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CONTACT: Sandi Karstens, 402-470-6578,

NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations

NET is Nebraska's statewide public media service dedicated to creating opportunities for Nebraskans to engage with critical issues, compelling stories and quality entertainment. NET serves each of Nebraska’s 93 counties with 52,560 hours of programming each year on four television and two radio channels, plus online and mobile content. In addition to providing free, high-quality educational programming for children, NET provides programming in the arts, award-winning news and current affairs information and emergency alert services. For more information about NET, visit