Friday, April 24, 2015

What a difference 24 hours makes...

Yesterday, the Miami Herald fired its outdoors writer, Sue Cocking...

But today on the paper's Facebook page, boating is called "an essential South Florida pastime ... "

So what's the deal, Rick and Mindy? If boating is so essential, why did you fire Sue?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

'Full-scale panic' at the Miami Herald

(Former) Miami Herald outdoors writer Sue Cocking. 

UPDATED Friday, April 24: In its first quarter 2015 earnings report, McClatchy, the Herald's parent company warns of more layoffs: "Management noted that expenses may be reduced further if needed based upon the revenue environment."

And there's this from McClatchy's president and CEO Pat Talamantes: "In light of weaker print advertising revenues this year, individual newspapers are adopting additional cost reduction plans to achieve their budgets. We expect to have another challenging quarter in the second quarter before cash flow flattens in the second half of 2015."


The Miami Herald fired long-time outdoors writer Sue Cocking yesterday.

Before we continue, let's just stop for a minute and let that sink in: The executives at a newspaper in Florida - the Sunshine State - just fired a writer who covered the outdoors. (The paper, however, still has a dance critic.)

Retired Herald staff writer Elinor Brecher posted this on Facebook today:
More layoffs at the Miami Herald. Five years ago they cut through the fat into the muscle. They've been cutting through the muscle down to the bone ever since. Now they're dismembering the carcass. Heaven help the handful of news staff remaining if there's a Cat 5 hurricane or a major plane crash or any other big story. My heart breaks for my friends who lost their jobs - and for those who still try so hard every day to do good work. There's a special place in hell for the corporate bloodsuckers who get bonuses for figuring out how to destroy their underlings' careers --- and a once-great newspaper in the process.

I'm guessing that since 2009, at least 100 newsroom and HR staffers have been laid off, bought out, outright fired, strongly urged to retire, moved on to new careers (after seeing the handwriting on the wall), quit because they were about to be reassigned to crappy jobs and/or couldn't stomach the Doral move, which was the nail in the Herald's coffin.
And here's what retired Tampa Bay Times Florida writer Jeff Klinkenberg had to say on Facebook...trying to make sense of the firing of an outdoors writer by a newspaper in the Sunshine State:
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that the bean counters running Florida newspapers these days are not rocket scientists. Today's case in point: The Miami Herald has eliminated my friend Sue Cocking's job, outdoors writer.

S. Florida is arguably the outdoor sport capital of the free world, with thousands (if not millions) of residents choosing to live or visit there because of the fishing, sailing, offshore boating, birding, kayaking, hiking and even hunting. Sailors and fishers usually have money--their sports are expensive. They're just the demographic, by the way, most likely to read a newspaper.

Newspaper managers clearly are in full-scale panic and seem out of touch with readers. In fact, this makes me wonder if the Herald has given up.

Finally, could there be any connection between the Herald's disastrous management strategies, partly advanced by Executive Editor Mindy Marques, and the mysterious failure of Innocents Lost to make it to the finals of the Pulitzers, where she serves on the board? Keep checking back here for an answer to that question.

So, why should you care about any of this?

Here's why.

If things keep going the way they are at the Herald, pretty soon there won't be a Miami Herald and this is how you'll get your news...from goofballs like this guy.

Click to enlarge.

Miami Beach's long history of ridiculous, fun-killing laws

Illustration by Cindy
(Click here to enlarge)

As I watched Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine speak from the dais at last week's city commission meeting, I was immediately struck by two things: How little this mayor knows about anything going on in his city, and....

....despite the fact that Levine organized a multi-million dollar birthday party celebrating Miami Beach's 100-year history, it was apparent to me that he knows very little about Miami Beach's history.

At the meeting, the Mayor proposed a ban on liquor sales after 2 a.m at outdoor venues on the beach.

But as I write in a post on Miami New Times, Levine isn't the first Beach politician to introduce an ordinance designed to cure all of the city's ills.

Click here to read my entire post at Miami New Times.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's official! Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine says Ocean Drive is a toilet!

Illustration by Cindy
(Click here to enlarge)

Miami Beach's fabulously popular, millionaire populist mayor Philip Levine has officially declared Ocean Drive to be a sh*thole! And at least one commissioner is in agreement.

From today's Miami Herald:
At Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, Mayor Philip Levine proposed a change to city law that would prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol at sidewalk cafes, patios and bars throughout the city between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. Currently, last call inside and outside is 5 a.m.

Levine said Ocean Drive — a stretch known for its busy nightlife in clubs and restaurants — has deteriorated over the years into a dangerous, “terrible” place. After asking law enforcement about it, he proposed the tighter restrictions on selling alcohol.


“This place [Ocean Drive] has turned into a very challenging area that requires a tremendous amount of our police resources to enforce and create safety. We’ve had this conversation many, many times. It’s turning into a Bourbon Street. It’s turning into a terrible place that’s become a blight, a cancer that spreads to our entire city.” -Mayor Philip Levine


“I personally walked there at 10:30 at night on a Thursday two weeks ago and I didn’t see one cop.” -Commissioner Michael Grieco


Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be newspaper reporters

They released one of those studies today that rates jobs from the best to the worst.

Here's how journalism blogger Jim Romenesko titled a post on the study:


Coincidentally, Miami Herald crime reporter Chuck Rabin was photographed today by a TV station as he filed a story on his iPad outside a gas station on NW 79th Street while sitting in only God knows how many years of accumulated bodily fluids. (That's Chuck just to the right of the ice machine.)

Click image to enlarge.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

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