So we get the news Wednesday that Miami Herald executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal has been appointed chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board.
If you had just landed on earth in a flying saucer and read the Columbia University press release on Gyllenhaal's appointment, you'd be led believe that all was right with newspaper journalism. And that Anders Gyllenhaal was the Herald's savior.
And you'd be partly right. Newspapers in general, and the Herald in particular, are still doing some great work.
But apparently the writer of the press release doesn't read the Herald on a daily basis or visit the Herald's website that often.
"Gyllenhaal (pronounced Jill-in-hall) has been a leader in online development in each of his newsrooms. The News & Observer was among the first newspapers in the country to develop an ambitious online strategy in the early 1990s. Under his direction, the Star Tribune launched a widely praised remake of its digital site and The Herald remade its primary Web site this year and has launched a series of successful online niche publications."Gyllenhaal's "a leader in online development" but this was the state of the Herald's website last summer under his leadership.
And when the Herald launched their new website in September this is what readers saw.
And let's not forget that the Herald's circulation has seen
an unprecedented decline in the past year under Gyllenhaal's "leadership."
The press release also says that Gyllenhaal has "emphasized experimentation" in his newsrooms.
Perhaps Gyllenhaal should stop experimenting and stick to basics like reporting the news in a timely fashion instead of waiting 10 days after the fact to publish a news story. Or, in some cases, two weeks. Or two months!?!
And then there's the little matter of Gyllenhaal's imperious and dismissive attitude towards readers who take the time to write to him and point out the Herald's shortcomings. Gyllenhaal apparently still believes that freedom of expression and "freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."
And finally Anders, did you give the go-ahead to print the address of the woman involved in the Father Cutié kerfuffle? Even the National Enquirer doesn't print addresses! That's really showing "leadership!"
Congratulations Anders on your appointment.
But remember that despite all the flowery language in that press release, there are still a few of us here in Miami who know the real story of how your "leadership" has transformed the Herald.
Shouldn't you spend your time making sure the Herald is the best paper it can be before you tackle another assignment?