|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
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.