Saturday, June 05, 2010

Who's in charge at the Herald?

Flooding at Alton Road and 9th Street - June 5, 2009.

If you need any more proof that that Miami's number one information source is on a collision course with a large iceberg, look no further than front page of the Miami Herald this morning.

There were a number of big stories that occurred on Friday that warranted front page play.

First, oil from the BP rig explosion has finally reached Florida.

Second, a four-year-old boy fell 70 feet from a condo in downtown Miami....and lived!

Third, in one of those classic, what-else-can-happen-here? stories, torrential rains hit Miami Beach, flooding streets and tying up traffic for hours. Not a big deal in tropical South Florida you say? However, these rains hit us a day shy of a full year since a similar deluge hit Miami Beach, flooding streets and tying up traffic!

All of those stories belonged on the front page of this morning's paper.

Only two made it.

Instead of the flooding story, the editors at the Herald chose to run a story about the arrest of dissidents in Cuba. The dissidents, the Herald tells us, belong to Agenda para la Transición and Unidad Liberal de la República de Cuba; not exactly household names.

(Note to Herald editors: Sorry guys, having lived in Miami since 1957 and read hundreds thousands of Cuba stories, the only Cuba story I want to see on the front page of your paper at this late date is the one with this headline: "CASTRO DEAD." All the rest is inside baseball. Until then, is there any chance you could print a few stories that actually matter to the rest of us here in South Florida?)

Flooding at Alton Road and 10th Street - June 5, 2009

The flooding story is a big one. For years, Miami Beach residents have begged city officials - to no avail - to fix the city's inadequate drainage system.

"The City of Miami Beach was supposed to do something about reducing the water flooding that we're having here," Dr. David Roth of Miami Beach told CBS4. "But obviously they haven't done anything yet."

But the Herald, it seems, has turned over its coverage of hyper-local news to clueless bloggers, who withhold news, rather than report it.

To be fair, the Herald did make a half-hearted attempt to cover the flooding, which it turns out, is one of the most popular stories on the paper's web site today.

But sportswriter David J. Neal turned in a story better suited for a weekly paper in Grand Junction, Iowa.

Neal, an experienced journalist, saved what should have been the lede of his story, for the last paragraph.
Almost one year ago, 364 days to be exact, similar rains made several Miami Beach residents park their cars along main thoroughfares in any parking space they could find and slog several blocks through brown knee deep water to get home. .
And I'm still trying to figure out this line: "....similar rains made several Miami Beach residents park their cars." Several?

The only thing more embarrassing than Neal's story, were the amateurish photos he shot. Neal's on-line story was accompanied by a few under-exposed cell phone pictures he shot. There are also some equally embarrassing pics by Herald multi-media editor Rick Hirsch and Herald systems editor Mike Agrifolio.

The Herald used to have one of the most talented and competent photo staffs of any paper its size. Back in the good old days, they would have been mobilized on a story like this. No more.

Instead of covering a story that matters to readers, the Herald gives us coverage of Cuban politics. I'm sure the thousands of Herald subscribers who were stuck in traffic in Miami Beach yesterday and who wanted to learn more, were thrilled to find a story with a Havana dateline on the front page of this morning's paper.

Flooding at Alton Road and 10th Street - June 5, 2009

1 comment:

  1. Bill, thank you for those photos and comments. The Heralds' Dave Smiley did write an article but you are correct it should be front page. What irks me even more is how the eNews Blast from the City of Miami Beach makes things sound so rosey. Its time our community of local Miami Beach residents and business owners marched on City Hall and its also time for people here to understand the root of the problem and the solutions. More to follow but for now please read this hyperlinked news article from 3 days ago where Flood Insurance is NO LONGER authorized by Congress right now, claims will not be paid and you cannot get flood isnurance in Miami Beach. Miami Beach is not to blame alone, its also the State of Florida who has been grossly negligent and who is responsible for the major artery Alton Road. Both of these units of Government need to be written to change their priorities fast. Calculations of economic loss are in excess of $2 billion in a 365 day period of flooding. The other major thing is this flood from June 4, 2010 was less than a 5 year storm. Bottom line is this, the outfall structures that drain this City are discharging below the high tide level of Biscayne Bay and Indian Creek. This means salt water pushes fresh water at a ratio of 3:1 so no fresh water excapes and salt water comes into our houses, buildings and dwellings. It gets better, you will love this. Did you notice how clear the water was this year? We now have groundwater penetraiton through various slab elevations that are close to 1-8 foot above grade. The City's Commissioners need to be talked to by the people and written and business owners need to understand whats at stake. The new PLAN is a Comprehensive Stormwater Management Master Plan,to be complete in 2010 and then built in and above ground. Get involved! Here is the NON FUNDED INSURANCE PROGRAM THAT IS NO LONGER AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS


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