Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Miami Herald ignores another important story

If you're not a reader of the Miami Herald's sister publication, El Nuevo Herald, you missed an important story today.

It appears, in that group of non-readers, are editors of the Miami Herald.

From page one of today's El Nuevo Herald (with translation courtesy of Google:)
by Melissa Sanchez
El Nuevo Herald

Veldora Arthur, the Deputy Chief of the Miami Fire Department, convicted Friday of mortgage fraud, will be eligible to continue receiving almost $167,000 in annual pension while jailed.

Robert Nagle, manager of the Retirement Fund for the Fire and Police of Miami, said a lawyer for the Fund is reviewing the federal case against Arthur to determine whether the crime in her capacity as deputy chief - for example, in uniform or during hours.

"Committing a felony could cause a recipient of a pension to lose [his/her] pension, but the crime must have been connected to his position," said Nagle. "If it was something they did in their private time, then they keep their pension."
Click to enlarge.
Arthur is currently residing at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami until her sentencing on December 16 when she could get as much as 20 years behind bars.

Her conviction Friday of wire and maul fraud was a tragic and abrupt end to a career that began over 20 years ago when Arthur was hired as the City of Miami's first black female firefighter, ultimately becoming the fire department's highest-ranking female.

It's a classic story of a fall from grace and by any measure, a great newspaper story.

But, with the exception of one hidden story in Sunday's Miami Herald, the paper's editors have done their best to ignore the story.

This despite the fact that Sunday's lone story was one of the most widely-read and commented upon stories on the paper's website.

In a city that's grown tired of hearing of government employees routinely earning six-figure salaries with matching pensions, the story of Arthur ripping off [mortgage] lenders for $317,000, [while] earning nearly $185,000 in yearly salary and a $167,000 pension struck a nerve with Herald readers. By late Monday, the story had generated over 225 reader comments.

The handling of Arthur story offers a fascinating glimpse into the widely disparate editorial decision-making processes at the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald.

El Nuevo Herald jumped on the story of Arthur's conviction late Friday and played it on page one in Saturday's paper.

The story was nowhere to be found in Saturday's Miami Herald.

It finally made it into Sunday's paper; but only because of one Herald reporter's dogged persistence.

But, for some unexplained reason, the story wasn't posted on the Herald's website until late Sunday morning.

In its recent series on municipal employees' pensions, Arthur was cited as an example of a city employee earning a six-figure salary while collecting a six-figure deferred pension. Given that, the Herald's decision to ignore the pension angle of Arthur's mortgage fraud conviction is puzzling.

But it isn't surprising.

In her year as People Magazine's Miami bureau chief executive editor of the Miami Herald, Mindy Marques has shown time and time again she has no idea what constitutes a news story.

Or how to cover one.

1 comment:

  1. And the Herald is in large part responsible for this whole outrageous salary/pension mess being what it is. Very little reporting over the years of the boring contract details between our local governments and the various unions, and the separate contracts with the far-too-many mid-level staff who manage us. Did I miss stories projecting these huge pay/benefit packages we taxpayers are on the hook for? My fault if I did. But I do not think any were written while the Herald was winning Pulitzers on other subjects.

    Suddenly (Suddenly? No, this took years to develop) we have bureaucrats with title we never hear of doing jobs we the people could not have dreamed up getting paid - not ‘earning' - $300,000 a year in salary and benefits. And retiring @ $2,200 A WEEK more than 20 year before the rest of us mere civilian workers can even think about filing for Social Security.

    Thanks, Herald.


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