Friday, February 21, 2014

Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz takes photos seen 'round the world, but editors at his paper don't think they're good enough for page one

Via the New York Daily News.
Photos by Al Diaz.


Al Diaz.
Veteran Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz was driving on State Road 836 in Miami Thursday afternoon when an SUV in front of him stopped abruptly.

Diaz didn't think anything of it until he heard the sound of a woman screaming. The next thing he saw was the door of the SUV open and a woman emerge with a baby.

Diaz tells CBS4 ...
A woman [Pamela Rauseo] pops out of the car and starts screaming ‘My baby can’t breathe, My baby can’t breathe. Call 911!’ So I got out of my car and ran over to help her.



The Herald's Sue Cocking recounts what happened next:
Diaz quickly jogged through traffic lanes to summon more help. He found Sweetwater police officer Amauris Bastidas, who ran to the scene and took over CPR for Godoy, performing chest pumps while Rauseo breathed into the baby’s mouth.
This morning Diaz told me by phone that after making sure enough people were helping Rauseo, only then did he grab his cameras and start shooting pictures.

Shortly after 8 p.m. last night, Diaz's story and photos were posted on the paper's website.

The Herald's news partner, CBS4, led their late newscast with the story and pictures from the afternoon's life-saving drama on 836.

And it wasn't long before websites all over the globe started posting Diaz's gripping photos, including the New York Daily News, the Oregonian, The Blaze, NBC NewsABC News, and the Daily Mail in London.

KABC in Los Angeles ran the story at the top of their 11 o'clock news show with reporter Elex Michaelson capturing the story's essence with these few sentences: "This starts with an aunt on baby sitting duty when everything goes wrong. She's stuck on Miami's version of the 405 Freeway, and that's when something really remarkable happened ... a community comes together to save that baby's life."

By now you may be saying to yourself, "Wow! If those photos are getting that much buzz around the world, surely the Miami Herald displayed them on the front page this morning."

But you'd be wrong.

What's more important to Herald editors than a set of photos that everyone is talking about?

Haiti, of course. Followed by stories on unrest in the Ukraine, an NFL player accused of rape, and a puff piece on the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

Miami Herald, page 1A, Feb. 21, 2013. 

Some unknown editor at the paper made the decision to run Diaz's photos inside on page 1B.

Miami Herald, page 1B, Feb. 21, 2014.

The irony here is that while a TV reporter in faraway Los Angeles immediately grasped the significance of the story, editors at the paper in the town where it occurred squandered an opportunity to give the story the coverage it deserved.

One friend told me this morning, "Were it not for the dateline, I never would have imagined a story like this happening in Miami."

This morning on his Facebook page, Diaz wrote: "Woke up to the world calling this morning. Little Sebastian is doing OK! Thanks for all the kind words."

But some of Diaz's friends were also bewildered that the story and photos were relegated to an inside page.

Retired Herald staffer Elinor Brecher wrote: "Bravo, Al! Be a mensch first then do your job. Textbook example. And bravo to all the bystanders who jumped in to help. This is after all Miami....But I'm truly puzzled that the story ran on the local front-- below the fold except for the top of a photo-- instead of the front page. No comprendo."

This morning by email, Miami filmmaker Billy Corben said this of the Herald's decision to run Diaz's photos inside: "Miami Herald editors never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Despite their dwindling ranks, there are still a lot of very talented and dedicated people left in the newsroom who do their damnedest to produce a quality paper. The problem is a lack of strong leadership. It's a ship without a captain. Or worse yet: a ship with Francesco Schettino as its captain."

I've sent an email to the paper's two top editors, Mindy Marqués and Rick Hirsch, in an effort to learn why Diaz's photos were relegated to an inside page. So far neither has responded.

If either of them get back to me with an answer, I'll update this post.


  1. The Herald is just waiting for New Time to run with the story. . ., then, they will

  2. This is the reason after 40 years of subscribing, I am quitting when my subscription runs out in March.


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