Thursday, December 18, 2014

I need your help


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Just click on the Paypal "donate" button at the top of the right-hand column and follow the instructions.

Thank you for your support and continued readership.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Grading the Miami media's coverage of the Alan Gross story: The good, the bad and the ugly

The good...


There's probably no one in Miami more qualified to anchor coverage of an important story like a thaw in U.S/Cuba relations than Local 10's Michael Putney. He's covered thousands of stories in this town in his almost 40 years as a journalist. Channel 10 hit it out of the park by tapping Putney to anchor the station's coverage of the Gross story. Kudos also to WPLG for sticking with the story past 1 p.m. while other stations went back to regular programming.




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The bad...


This morning, all those recent staff cuts at the Miami Herald came back to bite the paper in the ass. Miami's newspaper of record was slow out of the gate in its coverage of a story it should have owned.

The Herald's first mention of Gross' release was in a tweet sent out shortly before 9 a.m. that was based on information from "multiple outlets." Embarrassing.



Sometime after 9 a.m., the paper finally posted a three-paragraph wire service story that stayed on the Herald's website until well past 10 a.m.

A retired Herald editor emailed this to a former colleague:
What a sad commentary that Cuba news explodes and the Herald knew nothing about it ... And has to quote other media reports even now because it can't independently confirm. The Herald should own this story. Breaks my heart.

It appears that ABC News was first with the story just before 9 .a.m. with this report from Jim Avila in Miami that aired on Good Morning America.



ABC News Video


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The ugly...


The Herald also gets a failing grade for posting a picture with one of its stories of Cuban douchebag Miguel Saavedra and his band of idiots. This guy is an amateur agitator who represents no one but himself. Posting a picture of this moron adds nothing to anyone's understanding of a complex and important story.

Miguel Saavedra, center, at the Versailles Wednesday morning.
(Miami Herald photo)

Sadly, it's my duty to report that while Local 10 bested everyone by putting Michael Putney in the anchor chair for this story, someone at the station screwed up big time by deciding it was a good idea to pair Miami's most experienced political reporter with the station's early morning dim-witted Traffic Twinkie, Constance Jones.

Jones looked out of her element sitting next to Putney. A fact that was made abundantly clear anytime she opened her mouth.

During one segment with Putney and Local 10's Cuban-American anchor Victor Oquendo, Jones sat by silently, staring off into space and nodding like some kind of tarted-up bobble head doll.

Jones' contribution to the discussion comes at 1:12 and 1:14 on the video below when she utters the word "wow."

That's insightful, Constance. But Christiane Amanpour you're not.

Perhaps your bosses should have you stick to taking and posting stupid selfies and let the grown-ups handle the important stories.






Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Question for Miami Herald staffers...

Here's a question for any Miami Herald staffer who cares to answer: Who in the hell is in charge over there in Doral? And when did the Herald stop covering news? 

I ask that because for the past month and a half I've been reading the print edition of the paper...something I haven't done in almost 15 years.

But after holding the print product in my hand for the entire month of November and part of December, I'm not at all surprised that subscribers are abandoning the paper in droves.

Sunday night, five people were wounded after someone fired shots from a Chevy SUV into the courtyard of an Overtown apartment building. Sunday's shooting was just the latest incident in the ongoing orgy of violence that continues to plague the Overtown/Liberty City neighborhoods.

Herald editors gave the story three paragraphs on page 3B.

Chuck Rabin's online version of the story made mention of three other shootings that have taken place since 2012 that have left four dead and dozens wounded. But that information was edited out of the story that appeared in print.


Miami Herald, Dec. 16, 2014. 


So what story did Herald editors decide was more important than one of heavily-armed thugs continuing to hold a neighborhood hostage? Some idiotic nonsense on the most popular Google searches performed by Miamians in 2014.

Also relegated to the inside pages of Tuesday's Herald, was the horrific story of seven men arrested for allegedly kidnapping a 16-year-old schoolgirl and forcing her to take drugs and have sex with as many as 16 men over the course of a week.

Of course, had the 16-year-old rape victim been a student at Ransom Everglades, the story would almost certainly have been treated with a little more urgency and given more prominent play.

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Earlier on Random Pixels: 'We are unglued' - Miami Herald continues to treat some South Florida neighborhoods as though they don't exist
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And what story did Herald editors decide was more important than the kidnapping and repeated gang-rape of a 16-year-old schoolgirl?

This crap....fluff...

Miami Herald, Dec. 16, 2014, page 1A.


But by now, long-time readers of the Herald have grown accustomed to skimpy, or non-existent coverage of certain kinds of stories. And things are bound to get worse.

Over the past few months no fewer than 9 long-time staffers, most with decades of experience, have either retired or taken buyouts.

One staffer - a photographer with more than 30 years of service - was fired under mysterious circumstances.

Reporter Ina Cordle - a 20 year Herald veteran - is leaving the paper's skeletal business staff to join The Real Deal, a real estate website. Her last day at the paper is December 26.

Cammy Clark, the Herald's long-time Key West bureau chief lost her job after her position was eliminated.

For coverage of Keys news, the Herald will now rely on dispatches from the weekly Florida Keys Reporter, and twice-weekly Keynoter.






Thursday, December 11, 2014

Michel du Cille | 1956-2014

Photograph by Michel du Cille / Miami Herald (1987)

"A man looks through a broken window of an empty apartment. 

Unoccupied apartments became the crack den for many of the addicts 
at the apartment complex turned crack cocaine supermarket 
on the corner of Northeast Second Avenue and 71st Street. "
Via the Miami Herald. 

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From the Boca Raton News, Oct. 6, 1986
(Click to enlarge.)

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Every profession has its giants....those who set the standards for all the rest. In photojournalism, that person was former Miami Herald photographer Michel du Cille. Thursday night, his friends and colleagues learned that Michel - a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner - died of an apparent heart attack while covering the Ebola crisis in Liberia for the Washington Post.

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Michel du Cille, Post photojournalist who won Pulitzer three times, dies at 58

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The way we were...police horse gets the boot because of 'bad attitude'


Miami News, Dec. 4, 1984.


30 years ago this week the Miami News reported that Travelin Gambler, a 10 year-old Appaloosa assigned to the Metro Police Department's mounted patrol unit, was being kicked off the force after just two years of service.

In a memo to Metro commissioners, County Manager Merrett Stierheim wrote that the horse had "developed behavioral problems and has become very aggressive and uncontrollable, unseating riders."

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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Revenge of the bridge tender




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Somewhere, Neil Rogers is smiling.
Officials are investigating after a large yacht collided with the Broad Causeway Bridge, closing it to traffic in both directions, Tuesday afternoon.


Click to enlarge.


h/t: Alfred Spellman