Thursday, February 18, 2016

An open letter to Miami's TV station news directors

TO: Liz Roldan, CBS Miami
Migdalia Figueroa, NBC6
Tom Gonzalez-Diego, WSVN
Bill Pohovey, Local 10

Hello all

Following last night's news that President Obama plans to visit Cuba next month, I'm sure you're all very busy this morning making plans to send crews to the island.

But I'd like to take a moment of your valuable time to ask a favor.

I'm sure part of your coverage will be local reaction to the President's visit to Cuba.

And predictably, most all of you, will dispatch a reporter or two to the Versailles Restaurant.

But here's a newsflash: In my more than 50 years in Miami, I've discovered that Cuban-Americans don't just congregate outside the Versailles. They can be found almost anywhere. Trust me, I've seen them.

So here's my request: Next month, instead of tying up live trucks, reporters and photographers at the Versailles whose job it will be to beam back pictures and sound bites that we've all seen and heard thousands of times before, why not think outside the box and have your reporters fan out across the county and get reaction from a cross section of South Floridians?

As I wrote last August, the only people you'll find at the Versailles when a Cuba-related story breaks, are a "small group of demonstrators [who] represent no one but themselves. They show up because they know the TV cameras will be there. And the TV cameras show up because they know the demonstrators will be there. It's lazy journalism." 

I'm surprised that none of you have figured that out by now.

Put another way, pictures of Miguel Saavedra screaming into a bullhorn contribute nothing to anyone's understanding of the story. Zero, nada, zilch.

At this point the only pictures we need to see of Saavedra are those that show him setting himself on fire.

Thanks for your time. 

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