Sunday, September 01, 2013

Long-time Miami TV news reporter is Exhibit 'A' why no one should work in TV news for very long

Cartoon by Don Wright. 
Miami News, Aug. 2, 1983.
(Click to enlarge.)

A long-time - and recently retired - Miami TV news reporter posted this on Facebook Sunday afternoon:
[I'm] following a horrible history lesson being un-earthed in North Florida, a massive unmarked grave from a state run "Old South Reform School" that documents a horrible time in Florida History that can never be forgotten. Where's the National News Coverage and National Outrage?
He also posted a link to a Reuters story headlined "Bones unearthed in search at former Florida reform school."
Teams of searchers recovered human bones from the sands of Florida Panhandle woodlands on Saturday in a "boot hill" graveyard where juveniles who disappeared from a notorious Old South reform school more than a half-century ago are believed to have been secretly buried.
As of 7pm Sunday evening the Reuters story had garnered more than 340 reader comments.

The reporter who posted on Facebook, worked in the Miami television market for more than 40 years before retiring this year. And, he's a prime example of what long-term exposure to TV news can do to human brain cells.

Had he been paying attention over the years, he would have known that the Miami Herald's Carol Marbin Miller first broke the story in Oct., 2008 by meticulously documenting the horrors that occurred for decades at the "reform school" referred to in the Reuters story, the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys near Marianna, Florida.
A painful reunion at school of horror

Sunday, October 19, 2008


MARIANNA -- The Florida State Reform School -- more dungeon than deliverance for much of its 108-year history -- has kept chilling secrets hidden behind red-brick walls and a razor wire fence amid the gently rolling hills of rural North Florida.

Established by state lawmakers in 1897 as a high-minded experiment where "young offenders, separated from the vicious, may receive careful, physical, intellectual and moral training," the reformatory instead became a Dickensian nightmare.

Three years after the facility opened, kids were found chained in irons. A 1914 fire took six young lives while guards "were in town upon some pleasure bent," records say. And in the 1980s, advocates sued to stop the state from shackling and hogtying children there.

On Tuesday, about a half-dozen alumni will return to what is now called the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys to confront the most painful chapter of their troubled lives.

The White House Boys, as a group of grown men now call themselves -- kept one of the institution's most shameful secrets for half a century: what was done to them inside a squat, dark, cinder-block building called The White House.

There, they say, guards beat them ferociously with a lash, some dozens of times. Some men say they also were sexually abused in a crawl space below the dining hall they call the "rape room."

State juvenile justice administrators, who have not denied the allegations, will dedicate a memorial to the suffering of The White House Boys -- who found one another through the Internet -- at a formal ceremony at the Marianna campus Tuesday.

They number in the hundreds, perhaps even thousands.
And, with a little research, the TV reporter - remember, he worked as a "journalist" for more than four decades in this town - would have learned that the St. Petersburg Times followed up on Marbin Miller's stories starting in 2009 with a comprehensive series of reports titled "For Their Own Good."

And if the TV reporter was really that "outraged," he could have done some more poking around on the Internet and discovered that as far back as 1957 at least one Miami newspaper was reporting on the abuses taking place at what was then called the Marianna Industrial School for Boys.

I'm reasonably certain that the TV reporter who posted on Facebook, never once in 40 years aired a story on the abuses that took place at the reform school, which, by the way, wasn't closed until 2011. Same goes for his station.

The lesson here? Working in TV news for any length of time can have lasting and detrimental effects.

And, if TV news has these kind of effects on those who work in the industry; stop for a minute and think of what the medium must do to the brain cells of someone who watches TV news on a daily basis.

Think about that the next time you decide to tune in to a TV news show rather than pick up a newspaper.


  1. What kind of post is this? Why don't you name the TV reporter? Some of us don't watch TV news so we have no idea who you're talking about.

    1. If you don't watch TV news, then the name wouldn't mean anything to you.

  2. Bill, I don't always comment on what you write,( I'm sure I talk too much anyway,) but I always read your articles and I thank you sir for enlightening, clarifying and adding to my knowledge base a well as entertaining me in the process.

    Adrienne Corbett, South Miami

  3. I don't watch teevee at all, let alone the "news" precisely because I long ago drew the same conclusions you ably articulate here. Well done.


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