Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Open letter to Herald executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal

More than a few Herald insiders have told me that they had to step over the "pools of blood" on the floor while attending yesterday's newsroom announcement of photographer Patrick Farrell's Pulitzer Prize win.


What your paper left out of the stories today is that one of the journalists instrumental in Farrell's win, director of photography Luis Rios, will leave the Herald forever on Friday.

Rios was a victim of the latest round of Herald job cuts when his position was eliminated by you. Another Herald staffer who helped put together Farrell's Pulitzer entry - photographer John VanBeekum - has also been let go by you.

As someone with more than just a passing knowledge of the inner workings of the paper, I wonder what exactly one has to do to keep his job at your paper?

It looks as though if you work hard and bring honor to the paper you get fired.

But if you sit on your ass, ignore phoned-in news tips and go to a lot of meetings, you get to keep your job.

So please excuse me Anders if I get a little queasy when I read your assurances that the Herald is here to stay. You may believe that but as I look at your face in the video above, your expression tells me something else.

And I wonder why there aren't more people on the fifth floor like Humberto Castelló, who resigned last month from El Nuevo Herald rather than stay and watch the destruction of his paper?

None of this is meant to take away anything from Pat Farrell's stunning work. But as you know, newspapering is a team effort.

I'm saddened to see the departure of part of that team. And sorry that in your eloquent newsroom speech yesterday, you didn't even have the spine to acknowledge their contribution to Farrell's win...or the paper.

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