Sunday, July 06, 2014

It's official: Miami Herald bosses no longer give a sh*t [UPDATED 1x]

"We have transformed our business to become 24/7 information specialists, with the ability to deliver breaking news through a variety of digital platforms in addition to our print newspapers." -David Landsberg, the Miami Herald's former publisher, in a Nov. 2012 email to staffers.

"I can’t tell you exactly how you’ll be getting your news, but I know we’ll be delivering that news. We’ll be here." -Miami Herald Executive Editor Aminda "Mindy" Marqués Gonzalez, quoted in Ocean Drive Magazine.

UPDATED below in red.


Last April when asked about the Miami Herald's future, executive editor "Mindy" Marqués told Ocean Drive Magazine, "I can’t tell you exactly how you’ll be getting your news, but I know we’ll be delivering that news."

What she really meant to say was, "We'll be delivering that news as long as it happens between the hours of 9 and 5...excluding weekends and holidays, of course."

In Nov. 2012, then publisher David Landsberg emailed staffers with the news that the Herald was going to start charging readers to access the paper's website, writing, "We have transformed our business to become 24/7 information specialists..."

Under the reign of executive editor "Mindy" Marqués, covering the news on a "24/7" basis apparently means that newsroom managers leave the building well before midnight, crossing their fingers as they turn off the lights and walk to their cars - and praying to God, or the ghosts of John S. and James L. Knight - that nothing major will occur overnight. But if something does happen, they'll just pretend it didn't, leaving it to the morning crew to play catch up.

The story that appears in this morning's Herald on the boating crash that occurred July 4 near the Dinner Key marina - and that so far has claimed four lives - mentions in the second paragraph that the mishap occurred at 10:45 p.m. Friday night.

But the Herald didn't inform its readers of the accident until shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday morning - more than 10 hours after it occurred - when an intern posted online, a story that she copied and pasted from a TV station's website.


UPDATE: At some point late Saturday morning, someone in the newsroom finally decided this was a big story and maybe they should talk to some witnesses.

Why send a reporter to a news event when it's happening, 
when you can send a Tweet 13 hours later?

UPDATE: After seeing that Tweet, one staffer said, "I've now seen it all. Four [people] dead and we're tweeting for tips instead of reporting."


And a close inspection of the story in this morning's paper reveals that despite the magnitude of the tragedy, almost no effort went into reporting any of the story's developments that unfolded past the Herald's ridiculously early print deadlines.

One Herald newsroom veteran tells me the "handling and time elements look like the piece was written at 2 p.m. yesterday for online and not refocused for print this morning."

For instance, the Herald's story names just one of the crash victims: Kelsie Karpiak.

But several local TV stations apparently had no trouble confirming the names of four of the victims by late Saturday afternoon.

Sadly, it appears the people now in charge at the Herald no longer have any kind of coherent or workable plan on how to accomplish the most basic and essential function of a newspaper: Covering the news on a 24/7 basis.

Either that, or they just don't give a shit.

At any other newspaper in this country, "Mindy" Marqués, her deputy, Rick Hirsch, would have been fired long ago for incompetence. But, unfortunately, the Herald isn't like any other newspaper.

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