Thursday, December 12, 2013

Musical chairs at the Miami Herald

Nancy Ancrum, right, is the Miami Herald's
new editorial page editor.

They played another game of musical chairs at the Miami Herald today.

Nancy Ancrum, a journalist with more than 30 years of experience who for the past two decades has weighed in on editorials ranging from local government to healthcare, has been named editorial page editor for the Miami Herald.

“Nancy’s vast experience as a journalist and opinion writer will serve our readers and this community well,” Miami Herald Media Company Publisher David Landsberg said Thursday. “She’ll continue the important work of helping to set the agenda on issues that affect all of us who call this home.”
In recent years, as the news industry has evolved, Ancrum has worked to enhance the editorial board's community outreach and online presence.
(David Landsberg? Is that the same David Landsberg who last year told us that "We have transformed our business [the Miami Herald] to become 24/7 information specialists.")

But now that she's in charge, perhaps Ancrum will actually "enhance" the editorial board's "online presence" by being more active on Twitter. Right now, it doesn't appear that she understands how to use it effectively. Maybe that's why she has just 32 followers.

And, here's what else today's story about Ancrum's appointment didn't say: Her promotion surprised no one at the paper.

The Herald hasn't hired any new staffers in years.

When someone at the paper leaves, they look for someone within the building to replace the departing staffer....kind of like a never ending game of Whack-a-mole.

So, when the former editorial page editor Myriam Marquez, was named executive editor of el Nuevo Herald last October following the departure of Manny Garcia, Ancrum - who had been the editorial page letters editor - was really the only choice to succeed her.

The Herald's "editorial board" now consists of five members, and one of those answers the phone and opens the mail. (A far cry from the board's glory days in 1983 when the paper won a Pulitzer for editorial writing.)

So that's five four people responsible for producing two pages of the paper that almost no one in Miami-Dade County pays attention to anymore...unless they print something really stupid, like they did recently.

Here are a few more things you won't read in the Herald.

The Herald has yet to replace longtime obituary writer Elinor Brecher who retired in September.

Add to that, a half-dozen or so copy editors who've left since the first of the year.

And the paper now has three fewer photographers than it did a year ago.

Forty-year veteran photographer Tim Chapman retired in December 2012, and photographers Marice Cohn-Band and Joe Rimkus Jr. recently accepted a buyout and left the paper last week.

When those three walked out the door, they took with them a combined 115 years of experience.

And they're not being replaced.

And despite a skyrocketing crime rate in Miami-Dade, the paper hasn't had a full-time police reporter in years.

However, Herald honchos continue to insist that they're producing a quality newspaper.

But, if that's the case, how do they explain the fact that they're practically giving away what they produce?


  1. More like musical chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

  2. Funny thing is that I worked at that place for over 10 years in the newsroom and don't know who she is???? Weird huh?

  3. ...and what they've got to give away at discount isn't worth lining a birdcage with.

    The best paper in this town, for my money's worth, is Miami Today. It far outpaces the Doral Herald in many areas, including business & governmental coverage, and in editorials.

    It's truly, laughably pathetic that an executive assistant charged with answering phones is considered part of the "editorial board." And while Jim Morin is a decent cartoonist, he, too, should be considered a member of the "editorial board"? A cartoonist? One more vacancy on the "board" and maybe the Herald's cleaning lady will be next in line to be promoted to it.

    With a rag-tag assortment like this, it's not a question of IF the paper will take anymore ridiculous, embarrassing editorial stances, but WHEN's the next.

    Wow. What an incredible descent for the ever-shrinking Herald.


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