Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Miami media hits and misses

Here are a few things that caught my eye as I perused coverage of some recent stories in South Florida.

HIT- Miami Herald reporters Matthew Haggman and Martha Brannigan.

Haggman and Brannigan continue shining a bright light on all the creepy, slimy creatures that slither out from under the rocks at County Hall.

Sunday, Haggman and Brannigan revealed that a construction company that pays Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose ``Pepe'' Diaz "a six-figure income," has seen its business mushroom at Miami International Airport in the last three years.
U.S. Construction has pulled nearly three dozen permits at the airport to build new cafes, bars and stores, including the sprawling La Carreta restaurant, Duty Free stores and Books & Books. Thus far, in the massive new North Terminal, U.S. Construction is responsible for building more than one-third of the restaurants and shops, according to Miami-Dade Aviation Department records.

That's more than three times as many jobs as any other contractor doing similar work in the 1.4-mile terminal.

The firm's presence at MIA has spread ``like wildfire,'' said Miguel Southwell, the airport's deputy director who oversees concessions.
In the past, Haggman has reported on Miami-Dade commissioners using police officers assigned to county hall as their personal chauffers.

A year ago Haggman reported that Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez turned a blind eye while his Chief of staff Denis Morales moonlighted in Panama while on paid leave from his six-figure job.

And in August 2009, it was Haggman who revealed that Alvarez handed out double-digit pay raises to top staffers while the county was in the midst of a budget crisis.

HIT- Miami Herald reporters Laura Isensee and Toluse Olorunnipa.

Isensee and Olorunnipa reported on the shooting of two criminals who forced their way into a South Dade condo on Thanksgiving eve - a story which has been ignored by the rest of South Florida's media outlets.

HIT- The Miami Herald's Fred Grimm.

In his Sunday column, Grimm took critical look at the mass hysteria that surrounded last year's arrest of South Dade teen Tyler Weinman on charges of killing cats.
No one has yet calculated how much public money was wasted pursuing Tyler Weinman, but last year The Miami Herald's David Ovalle reported that the first 10 days of this extraordinary investigation cost Miami-Dade police $73,693.57 in overtime. That was back in July 2009, for an investigation destined to drag on for another 16 months.

By now, Macey figures, Miami-Dade has spent more than a million bucks -- for a crime that never occurred. The non-crime of the century.
Last week, prosecutors and police announced that charges against Weinman would be dropped.

HIT- WSVN 7 Sky Force videographer Ralph Rayburn.

Rayburn did a top notch job shooting live, white-knuckle-edge-of-your-seat video during the Nov. 17 police chase through parts of Miami Dade and Broward Counties....all while providing an accurate running commentary of the action. Rayburn is a rarity in Miami TV news; he can actually string sentences together without the use of a Teleprompter.

HIT- WPLG's Michael Putney.

Putney offered an important sidebar to the chase coverage. He was the only Miami newsman to question why more than 20 Miami Police units were needed to chase the suspect .
Dozens of officers converged on the scene of the crash with guns drawn, ordering the driver to give up. The driver, a man, climbed out through a window and collapsed on the pavement, his face bloodied and his leg injured in the collision.

The Miami Police Department was the first agency involved in Wednesday's chase and, although other agencies joined in to help, had the most officers following the SUV.

Two marked Miami police cruisers and one unmarked unit were in hot pursuit of the SUV when other departments joined in.

"Obviously, the question of how many police cars is going to be on the minds of most people looking on, but what you have to understand is that there's strength in numbers," said Cmdr. Delrish Moss, of the Miami Police Department.

"I don't have an exact count on how many total officers were involved, but it was basically, as you saw, basically citywide, and also we reached out to other jurisdictions to include the county and (the Florida Highway Patrol,)" Moreno said.

HIT- Miami Herald reporter Cammy Clark and photographer Tim Chapman.

Clark and Chapman did a nice job on the story of Key West lesbian-exclusive resort, Pearl's Rainbow, that now welcomes male guests. Clark's piece proved once again why she's one of the Herald's major assets. She reports on an area - the Florida Keys - that's largely underserved by the rest of South Florida's media outlets. Chapman, a tough-as-nails news photographer, who, for years has covered breaking news at the Herald, turned in a set of pictures that revealed his sentive side and that nicely complemented Clark's story.

FAIL- Miami Herald 's metro desk.

Two weeks after 20 year-old Michael Beatty was gunned down in broad daylight near NW 15 Avenue & 59th Street in Liberty City, the Herald has yet to print one word on the crime.

Beatty's murder was caught on video from several angles. The video shows a man chasing Beatty with a weapon that resembles a Mac-10. Apparently the editors at the Herald consider a cold-blooded daylight murder in Liberty City just another day in the 'hood not worthy of reporting. Even though the story was reported on the website of a British newspaper.

Gunman chases Michael Beatty

FAIL- The Miami Herald.

More than a month after a hookworm infestation on Miami Beach was reported by several media outlets, the Herald finally got around to doing a story. Hey! What's the rush?

FAIL- South Florida Sun-Sentinel business editor Cyndi Metzger.

Metzger is a prime example why newspapers are failing. Last week I emailed her an idea for a story about a successful Miami business. Metzger responded: "We’ll keep it in mind. Our focus is largely on Broward and Palm Beach counties, though." While her paper is called the SOUTH FLORIDA Sun-Sentinel, Metzger evidently believes that Miami-Dade is not a part of South Florida. Brilliant!

1 comment:

  1. Haggman is one of the best down here. Cut his chops at the DBR covering the legal beat and has worked his way up ever since. Has become one heck of an investigative reporter for the Herald. A real bright spot among the drib and drab that unfortunately now populates a lot of our major daily.


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