Sunday, April 01, 2012

Marty Merzer on writing: 'This is the way it is done'

When former Miami Herald staffer Marty Merzer posts a link to a newspaper story on his Facebook page, I stop what I'm doing and take notes.

Saturday, he wrote this about Fred Grimm's Sunday column in the Miami Herald:

"Newspaper editors, writers: This is the way it is done, when you have a seasoned, smart, experienced professional covering a story. You want to save your newspapers and your careers? Read this story slowly. Note the nuance, the sense of place, the care, the striving for fairness, the respect for everyone involved, especially readers."

Grimm's column:
How a small town mismanaged a crisis

SANFORD - Hundreds of protesters marched here on Saturday, waving signs, shouting epithets, making demands, threatening the city with economic ruin. As they heaped ever more derision on Sanford, locals sank deeper into a bewildered despair, wondering how their picturesque town had been transformed these last few weeks into an icon of racism.

Somehow, in the national imagination, Sanford, 2012, mutated into Selma, 1965.

“It’s surreal,” said Sheri Blanche, standing in her little cafĂ©/art gallery in downtown Sanford. “I don’t know how this happened. We’re a progressive city. We’re a city of artists and writers.”
Sanford, an old inland port on a wide bulge in the St. John’s River called Lake Martin, seems much too cute for its unseemly new image, with its downtown streets paved in bricks, with sidewalk cafes and art galleries and antique shops and wine bars and live music spilling out of the bars into the night, with a marina and a nicely designed 1.2 mile pedestrian concourse along the city’s waterfront.

“This is no redneck place like they’re making out in the media,” said Melanie Green, browsing amid hand-painted ceramics and stained glass at a downtown art shop. “I know,” she added with a sly smile. “I drove down here from Deland to get away from rednecks.”

Click here to read Grimm's complete column.

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