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Monday July 21, 2008

A front page article in today’s Sun Sentinel pities the poor weather reporters at local TV stations, who have to decide whether to interrupt your programming with hurricane updates or wait for the commercial. Poor babies. You know what? Wait for the frigging commercial. I don’t care how close the storm is to Bermuda. All I care about is is we are actually in a hurricane watch. It’s just not that hard.


Wednesday April 30, 2008

Bob Norman has a great rant about the newspaper industry, esp. as it pertains to Miami. “Look at the Miami Herald. It’s been hit by an 11 percent decline in the six-month period ending at the end of March. It’s down to 240,000. … And what do we get? Same shit, only softer.”


Wednesday March 26, 2008

In 1988, John Dorschner wrote a long piece for Tropic, the Miami Herald’s now-defunct Sunday magazine. He pretended to be writing in 2008, looking back over the last 20 years. Henry Gomez dug up a copy of the magazine, and compared the predictions with what actually happened, in a 4-part series of posts. There is some very dramatic stuff here that never happened (e.g. Mariel II, 1998), but Dorschner gets a lot of stuff right. Too bad Babalu’s italicized blockquotes are so hard to read.


Wednesday March 12, 2008 out of beta.


Wednesday February 27, 2008

I haven’t read this yet, but New York Times plagiarizes the Miami Herald.


Tuesday February 26, 2008

In an effort to “beautify,” North Miami’s city government removed New Times’ and Sun Post’s distribution boxes. I guess they’re taking their slogan seriously, and intend to continue to make improvements like this. Wow.


Tuesday November 13, 2007

All charges against Jeff Weinsier have been unceremoniously dropped. It is now this guy’s responsibility as a journalist to sue the police for false arrest. Update: Bob’s got the full text of the SA Maggie Gerson’s memo. I love her for her common sense (Rick should read this twice): “As to the . . . Failing to Obey a lawful command charge, the arrest may have been lawful had there been a lawful command. However, the command does not appear to be lawful in this case since being on the sidewalk in and of itself is not illegal.”


Monday October 29, 2007

The Jeff Weinsier incident

Jeff Weinsier gets arrested Last week, Channel 10 reporter Jeff Weinsier was arrested in front of Miami Central Senior High. By now everyone knows what happened, but let’s recap: 1) Weinsier and his cameraman, while shooting from the sidewalk, are ordered, and more or less forced, by police to go across the street; 2) Weinsier calls his station, who calls the police department, and they’re “given permission” to go back; 3) upon returning to the sidewalk on the school’s side, another confrontation with the police ensues, and Weinsier is arrested; 4) upon being searched, he is found to be carrying a concealed weapon, which is illegal on school grounds.

Well, WPLG 10 has now released the raw video of the incident, and C.L. Jahn breaks it down. C.L. Points out the obvious — that the video doesn’t show Weinsier ever setting foot on the school’s property. This misses the rather obvious point that we don’t know what happened before the camera started rolling. Video footage and photography are like that: our brain is tricked into thinking we’re seeing all there is to see. It’s completely possible that Weinsier was standing on the grass before the video we see was shot. And if he wasn’t, the police can certainly claim so, which may give some legal standing to their “lawful order” for him to stay across the street.

The law here is murky: schools are surrounded by a 500 foot “school safety zone,” and in some regards this zone is considered an extension of school grounds. Carlos Miller addresses the various laws that come into play here and here. It seems clear that Weinsier violated the law by carrying the gun near a school. But if that’s the only thing he ends up guilty of, it may very well overshadow the much larger issue: whether the police were right in ordering him off the sidewalk, and in arresting him. Carlos says:

According to Florida Statute 810.0975, which defines trespassing in “school safety zones”, a person is committing an unlawful act if he loiters in the school safety zone, but “does not have legitimate business in the school safety zone”.

The emphasis is his, and with good reason: a possible hinge-point is whether television reporting constitutes “legitimate business.” The common-sense answer would be ‘yes,’ but of course common sense is irrelevant. What’s relevant is how all the various facts of the case, and the relevant laws, are going to be interperted here. If the officer had a legitimate reason for ordering the reporters to leave (despite the fact that he doesn’t give one on camera, he of course had a reason — TV reporters file reports from schools all the time with no trouble), does disobeying the order actually constitute trespassing? Will they continue to insist that Weinsier stepped on the grass? Is it legally relevant that the Police Department’s own Public Information Officer told the station that it was OK for Weinsier to be on the sidewalk?

Perhaps most important: will the WPLG stick up for their reporter, and fight this case hard? On Friday, the station suspended Weinsier for two weeks for carrying the concealed weapon, a violation of their company policy. Fine; they may just be erring on the side of caution in preparation for the fight to come. But barring more information, this is a clear first-amendment issue, and the station — we all — need to pursue it to make sure it’s resolved properly. If the police were not right, there needs to be a major counter-suit. And remember: if the only charge that sticks is the concealed weapons violation, the police were wrong. In this case, that constitutes a technicality, because it wasn’t discovered until after the arrest. We’ve all seen how well police reports can spin police behavior even when it is obviously and clearly wrong. Let’s not stand for that this time around.


Thursday October 25, 2007

Boyton Beach police to reporters: shave your heads and we’ll give you special scoops. Did I miss a memo about this officially being a police state?


Wednesday October 24, 2007

Jeff Weinsier, a reporter for Channel 10 news, was arrested for “trespassing” while standing on the sidewalk in front of Miami Central High. After the arrest, police found a gun on him, so charged him with possession of a firearm on school property. Police say he had previously stepped on the grass, but the video clearly shows them arresting him on the sidewalk (“which is usually considered public property,” as the report incredulously puts it) after he refuses to cross the street. (Via Carlos Miller, who unpacks some of the law around this.)


Monday October 1, 2007

You’ve got to love the Miami Herald. A great expose on misuse of funds at the non-profit Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust (part one of three!) runs alongside a director’s commentary style article about the reporters reporting the story. Maybe part 2 of the story will include a sidebar on the graphic designer who laid out the page.


Tuesday August 28, 2007

Ian's hurricane Andrew journal

Click to read Click for slideshow.

My friend Ian was publishing a sort of zine around the time of Andrew, and in one issue he transcribed his journal from during and after the storm. His house was in the part of town that got hit really hard, and this is about as good an account of what happened that I’ve seen. I held on to it, and the 15th anniversary of the storm seems like a decent time to share. Click the image above to read. I also have high-resolution scans of the cover and inside pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. I unfortunately lost contact with Ian (don’t even remember his last name), and if anyone reading knows him, please have him get in touch, at the least to let me know if I can leave this up.


Wednesday August 22, 2007

Developments in the newspaper business

USA Today vote and comment features Two interesting recent stories that seem to signal what lays ahead for newspapers.

#1: Disappointing early results for USA Today’s adoption of social networking. The USA Today tried what many newspapers are considering: bringing their users much closer to their content by allowing them to create profiles with which to comment, vote on stories to rise to the home page, etc. Take a look: USA Today, and it’s hard to miss.

The problem is that for whatever reason, this is hurting their page views, which have declined 29% over the last year, while the NY Times and Washington Post have held steady. Perhaps this will make other newspapers *cough*hearld*cough* reconsider adopting social networking. It’s of course likely that the the implementation just needs to be tweaked a bit, or even that the decline in USA Today’s readership has nothing to do with the SN features — maybe they’ve just been sucking compared to the competition.

#2: A plan is almost finalized for Tribune to be taken off the stock market, purchased by a private interest: it would be owned by the employees, in a deal organized and financed by a guy named Zell. This seems to fall into the trend I suggested a couple of years ago of not letting newspapers be publicly traded. Maybe. Hopefully it’s not one of the colorful bumps along the way down for the industry. In any case, it’s far from certain whether the deal will go through after all.

#3 (bonus): As many have heard, the NY Times is planning to drop the pay-wall for some of their content. Hooray, but when?


Wednesday August 15, 2007

Bob Norman on the edited Herald letter. Don’t miss the comments.


Friday August 10, 2007

Edited Herald letter

Herald Watch got a hold of a letter to the editor sent to the Herald and compared it to the published version. The letter is by former Herald journalist Paul Crespo, one of the subjects of Oscar Corral’s Radio Marti story. The strikeout text was deleted from the version published, underlined text was added. Interesting:

Reporter arrested / I was amazed -- but not surprised -- by your coverage of the arrest of Miami Herald reporter Oscar Corral. As the self-styled arbiter of ethics in Miami, The Miami Herald is displaying its own lack of ethics and professionalism in this case. In contrast to your front-page coverage of several Cuban-American journalists (including me) in 2006, your microscopic coverage of Corral's recent arrest for allegedly soliciting a prostitute was hidden on page three of the Metro section. / Regarding the front-page story by Corral about our freelancing for TV Marti, your own ombudsman, Clark Hoyt, found numerous flaws in Corral's reporting. Among the many critiques in his report on Corral's article, Hoyt stated that the story's ''hard and accusatory tone and the large and breathless headline suggested something more sinister than the story actually reported.'' What a difference between your piece against us and this minimal coverage of your reporter who wrote it. -- PAUL CRESPO, Coral Gables

What happened here? Well, they haven’t made it sound like Paul is saying anything he didn’t say. They’ve selected one particular point he made and deleted the material that’s tangential to that point. In the process, much of the anger obvious in the original has been sapped. There’s no question that the Herald editors have the right to do this. The question becomes, again, what should newspapers do differently in light of the internet?

A commenter on HW says: “On the web, there is little space limitation. They could have at least published the full version online.” More interestingly, they could publish both versions online, and let us see the edits. Such radical transparency seems to be the direction the internet is pushing all business, and it’s not ironic that newspapers are getting pushed in this direction, too. It will be interesting to see how long they fight this, and to what extent they are willing and able to change.

In the meantime, let’s have more of this. CC Conductor on letters you send to the Herald, and maybe these sorts of revision-revealed letters will become a regular feature.

[Accessibility note: the edited version of the letter is in the image’s alt-text. The original version is here.]


Tuesday August 7, 2007

So, the Herald got a phone call from Sacramento the other day, and they were all like, “yeah, the McClatchy call centers, that’s what we said,” and the big guy on the other end of the line was all “uh-uh — they’re ‘McClatchy Call Centers,’ and you’re running a correction on this,” and they’re all like “that’s ridiculous, we’re not doing that,” and . . . well, here.


Wednesday August 1, 2007

Design tweaks at the

herald menu

Click over to any news story at, and you get this groovy new menu bar. This is the same design I complained about on the Carnival Center’s website last year. These are not too difficult to use but please Herald — can’t we have drop-down menus? You know, like we use on all of our software every day? Yes, I know they block a portion of your content, but when we’re on the menu we’re not looking at the content. Trust me — you’d make life much easier for all your users, especially the less computer-savvy ones.

That said, I really like the feature. I can jump to whatever section I need with one click, and scrolling through the menus gives a good overview of the site’s structure. Which leads me to the next logical question: why not on the home page? All usually I want from the Herald’s home page is to get to the local news in one click, and I’ve never been able to do that. Why, Herald, why? Why does the “News” link in the left column menu have sub-links for “Hurricane 2007” and “Obituaries” but nothing else? Hopefully you’re just trying it out, and then will migrate it to the home page. I like that idea of rolling out interface changes bit by bit, rather then doing a grand all-at-once “redesign.”


Monday July 30, 2007

A letter published in the SunPost calling for more arts coverage in Miami (scroll to the bottom). This is from the panel discussion back in May. (via WHL)


Thursday July 26, 2007

“Have you noticed that the Palm Beach Post’s Internet site has become the new ‘tip sheet’ for the Sun-Sentinel?”


Monday July 23, 2007

Last week, Charlie Crist’s office sent out a list of all the requests for information it had received from reporters during the previous day. Bob Norman waxes philosophical about the ethical conundrum for reporters who have this information available to scoop their colleagues. All well and good, but this is the internet dammit — I want to see the full text of the e-mail posted somewhere by the end of the day today! Update: The list is out. The Orlando Sentinel stepped up to the challenge.


Thursday July 19, 2007

The new Sun-Sentinel website

sun sentinel homepage

A much needed overhaul

The Sun-Sentinel’s website recently went in for a long-due redesign. The new page is much easier on the eyes, with whitespace, gray hairlines between content, and periwinkle headlines. They’ve added some significant features, including modern “article tools” (which allow for resizing text, e-mailing a page, and more), a 5-star system that allows you to “rate” almost everything on the site, and “most viewed/most e-mailed” lists. A handy site index at the bottom of the home page allows quick jumps to any section of the site. The flagship of the re-design is a tabbed box on the home page that allows you to quickly scan headlines from the five most popular sections. To top it off, the design gives a nod to modern design standards; while it doesn’t quite validate, the old table-oriented layout is gone, almost completely replaced with more semantic markup. (If the last sentence made your eyes glaze over, don’t worry, just know that it’s a good thing.) So, the Sentinel gets a pat on the back?

Well, not so fast. When a project of this magnitude comes along, you don’t evaluate it by comparing it to what it replaced — you compare it to what it might have been, to the ideal solution. In some alarming ways, the new redesign is a re-skinning of the old site with a sprinkling of poorly-implemented me-too features cherry-picked from other newspaper sites. On closer inspection: “Most visited/e-mailed” lists are great, but what about “most blogged”? That’s gone over very well on sites such as The “e-mail” this doesn’t e-mail a copy of a story, just a link to it, so when the story disapears from the website, the e-mail is worthless. And the tabbed “main module” is patched together out of flimsy JavaScript, doesn’t work properly in some versions of Firefox, and doesn’t work at all in non-JavaScript browsers.

But the big deal isn’t what the Sun-Sentinel did wrong, but what they chose not to do at all. What we have here is a content management system that just doesn’t manage the content very well, and doesn’t present it to the user in very helpful ways. Where are the archives? Most of the pages (not all!) display lists of articles only from the present day, but to find something that ran yesterday or a few days ago, you’re relegated to the search function, which, while vastly improved, still often returns way too many results and does not allow the results to be sorted by date. So it’s back to the needle-in-haystack scenario for finding anything but today’s news.

Blogs and archives

Let’s talk about blogs. The Sentinel has about 20, and they’re fine. But the news/blogs dichotomy implies a lack of understanding of what’s happening on the internet. Insofar as this dichotomy exists on almost all newspaper sites, this is a criticism of the industry rather then the Sentinel specifically, but bear with me. Consider that the blogs are the only parts of the Sentinel’s site that get obvious RSS feeds and permanent archives. What could possibly be the rationale, 10 years from now, of making their writers’ fleeting impressions searchable and accessible, while hiding the real news stories behind a paywall? (And no, they don’t get to say that it’s a question of needing to make money.)

The defining characteristic of real-world blogs is their reverse-chronological organization. What newspapers should be doing is to take the aspects of blogs that make them so powerful (in particuar the immediacy) and apply them all their content, not to have two parallel (blog/non-blog) systems. What’s the difference, really, between a short article and a blog entry? In the case of the Sentinel, it’s that the former is gone from the internet after a month, and the latter is permanent and has monthly archives. The Sentinel’s today-only mentality about the news means that even pages that do list older articles, such as Joe Kollin’s column about homeowners’ associations, don’t list the dates for the articles (look at that page and note how many features of a blog it has — does what the Sentinel is doing here really make sense?). Other columnists get a page with dates, but one which seems to observe the one-month rule.

A change in thinking

The problem with most newspaper websites is that the newspapers are trying to make the internet work their way, rather then adapting themselves to how the internet works. Online video on news sites is all well and good (well, actually it’s often terrible), as is PDA/cellphone-friendly content, but what we need is some real thinking about how to use this medium to its best advantage. Adrian Holovaty wrote an excellent article about how he envisions the job that newspapers do shifting in light of the new possibilities of the internet. He pleads for a move away from the “collect information/dump it into a news story” mode of thinking to a way of presenting each set of information in the way most suited to it.

For example, say a newspaper has written a story about a local fire. Being able to read that story on a cell phone is fine and dandy. Hooray, technology! But what I really want to be able to do is explore the raw facts of that story, one by one, with layers of attribution, and an infrastructure for comparing the details of the fire — date, time, place, victims, fire station number, distance from fire department, names and years experience of firemen on the scene, time it took for firemen to arrive — with the details of previous fires. And subsequent fires, whenever they happen.

What he’s arguing is that data, where applicable, should be stored in a database format that can be re-purposed later with maps, timelines, and other tools not yet envisioned. Write news articles where applicable, but look constantly for more useful ways to present information. Over the years the paper news industry has developed tools that made the most of the newspaper format (including charts, photos, diagrams, and other infographics). It has been painfully slow to do so for the internet. A couple of weeks ago the Sun-Sentinel ran a front-page story about water pumps that had been shut down due to groundwater salt intrusion, accompanied by an interesting diagram. Obviously much more could have been done online, but the website version of the story didn’t even have the diagram!

Other opportunities missed

There is a hostility to the notion of someone getting their news from multiple sources working here which again turns a blind eye to the realities of the internet. Want people to make your page the first place they visit? Why not make it customizable? No need to go as far as iGoogle — how about allowing folks to choose what their favorite sections are and put those on the front page? How about RSS feeds from other news sources? Outlandish? Works pretty good at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: their traffic page is a marvel of maps, live cams, RSS feeds, external links, and articles which — helpfully — have a headline, short summary blurb, and for articles from before today, a date!

So, they changed the layout. Great. Some bloggers do this every few months, to abate boredom. No doubt the Sun-Sentinel spent in the (low) tens of thousands of dollars for their new layout. Is it an improvement over the old site? Well, duh (on a good day, my cat can vomit up an improvement over their old site). But have they addressed any of the challenges facing them and their fellow businesses on today’s internet? No, natch. They’ve dressed a dog up in a slightly more practical and less baroque dress.

Update: I have more nit-pick thoughts that I’ll add as they occur to me:


Friday July 13, 2007

The Sun-Sentinel’s web page has been redesigned for the usefuler (obviously inspired by the fabulous Word is that is undergoing an overhaul right now, to be launched in the near future.


Thursday June 21, 2007

Hey everybody, New Times is hiring. Know anybody that can “understand the difference between magazine-style reporting and the hurried fact-finding of daily papers”?


Wednesday June 13, 2007

Interested in being an MTV host?


Monday June 11, 2007

Bob Norman dissects some choice phrases the Sun-Sentinel has been kicking around lately.


Tuesday June 5, 2007

“As any careful reader knows by now, the St. Petersburg Times and The Palm Beach Post were the only Florida news organizations that sent reporters to cover Gov. Charlie Crist’s trip to Israel. But The Miami Herald still found an enterprising way to get a little coverage.” The St. Pete Times nips in the general direction of the Miami Herald, who nips back. Feisty! They’re talking about Charlie Crist’s trip to Israel, which was kinda sorta covered for the herald by state representative Dan Gelber.


Tuesday January 30, 2007

Category 305

category305 logo Poor Category 305 — they’re trying so hard, but they just seem to be getting nowhere. A number of talented writers struggling in the face of an oppressive, unwieldy content management system. I mean, look at this thing: enigmatic menus along the top with enigmatic drop-downs. I’ve been clicking around this thing for the last half-hour, and I occasionally land on something that looks interesting, but never get any sense of an underlying structure. The RSS feed doesn’t work. There’s a photo “gallery” where once you finally find the photos you’re not sure why you bothered.

My favorite is “Shoutout! Submit Your Story,” a prominent link on every single page. I’m game, so I click. “You are not authorized to view this resource. You need to login.” Um, ok; I’m not sure I care, but out of a sense of curiosity I actually created an account. Shouldn’t have bothered, because I’m still not authorized to view whatever the resource is. In fact, the only new thing I get access to for my troubles appears to be a ‘links’ section, and the only link goes to now-defunct The Dirt — oops! And what’s up with the weird techno styling? They designed this thing in 2006; why make it look like 2003?

This is all a little disturbing — Category 305 is spending good money running ads on WLRN. They’ve got writers doing interesting work (check out the new Oriental market survey). They have someone photoshopping text over photos. They’ve got Rebecca Wakefield, for christsakes! But unless this website gets fixed dumped and redone from scratch, and I mean pronto, it ain’t going nowhere.


Thursday January 11, 2007

Bob Norman breaks down the recent changes at the Sun-Sentinel: 1, 2.



2007 We Media Film Festival

We Media Miami logo OK, let me see if I understand this correctly. A conference, We Media Miami (that’s a link to a post on the conference’s blog about the conference), which is now in its third year, and this year includes an “online film festival,” We Media Film Festival, which is aimed at short YouTube-style amateur video (in fact, you submit entries by uploading or by YouTube link). Back to the blog, and here’s a press release about the festival part. All of this is presented by ifocus, a non-profit, and hosted by the University of Miami School of Communications to present the conference.

The conference is expensive, and the film festival can be entered by anyone (deadline: February 2), so no action required. I mention this mainly because it’s another example of something interesting the UM School of Communications is doing (Tuesday we noticed BarCamp), and because it’s cool.


Friday January 5, 2007

What's up with the Art Miami ad?

Art Miami ad is a photo of a lifeguard stand.
Click for larger.

How do I dislike the Art Miami ad that’s running everywhere? Let me count the ways:

  1. Not a real Miami lifeguard stand. I have no idea where this is from, but not anywhere in driving distance.
  2. Not the real Miami ocean. Give me a break; we’ve seen the ocean here, and it’s never been this color. Ever. This is probably in the Caribbean, and then color-tweaked with an eye toward absurdity.
  3. Not a real Miami beach. It isn’t this color. It doesn’t look like that.
  4. Even with all that, those three elements are all assembled in photoshop — note the wishy-washy hand-painted shadow. Look where the legs and ladder meet the sand. They didn’t even try. In fact, I’m not even sure the sand and water are from the same photo.
  5. Text not really stenciled. More photoshop, and again not well done.
  6. Absurd cloud-collages are de-rigeur these days (see here), but this one is particularly laughable. I detect pieces from maybe 5 different photos.
  7. Actually, the typography’s not bad. I kind of like this part.


Tuesday December 12, 2006

What's up with the New York Times?

While clicking around the internets yesterday, I came across Rick’s post linking to Ziva’s post about Pinochet. Neither is particularly remarkable for what it says (“Pinochet was a bad dude, now he’s dead,” etc.), but interesting threads developed in the comments. It seems that there are actually passionate supporters of Pinochet walking around in our midst, and they’ve let their voices be heard.

Check out Manuel A. Tellechea’s comment — neither site will let me link to it directly, but it’s high up in both threads, pretty long, and hard to miss. This is a guy I’ve very much agreed with in the past, but here he’s just silly. Here’s one paragraph:

But the leftwing media in this country and Western Europe, which believe that countries have the right to commit mass suicide so long as it’s done democratically, as in Germany in 1933, proceeded to blacken Pinochet’s name while extolling the perennially unelected Castro as a folk hero.

Now, that’s just plain silly (even after the “mass suicide” gaffe). Nobody in the mainstream media has ever called Castro a folk hero, any more then they’ve supported the holocaust. When pressed, Manuel challenges me to find articles in major newspapers that refer to Castro as a “monster,” or a “dictator,” as they do with Pinochet. There’s at least one of the former, and plenty of the latter.

The right-wing guys always fixate on the New York Times, and of course the NYT also . . . wait a second. I’m searching the NYT site for articles that include the words “Castro” and “dictator.” Many of them obviously are mentioning Castro in passing, and talking about a different dictator but, hmm, ok — here’s one and here’s another. Whoa! What’s going on here? Here are the respective quotes:

. . . a man whom the vast majority of Cuban-Americans in Miami consider a despicable and murderous dictator.

. . . Mr. Castro, whom the United States government tars as a dictator who suppresses his people.

Putting aside for a moment the fact that one of these articles is a “fascinating” look at a pro-Castro radio station, and another is a rather positive look at a Cuban educational program, why does the New York Times always holding the word “dictator” at arms length. “Those people call him that,” it seems to say, implying (does it not?) that it does not consider him one?

Now, playing the numbers game to try to see who’s better between Pinochet, Castro, Stalin, and Hitler (that’s four murderous dictators, btw, two right-wingers and two left-wingers) is just absurd, as is the notion that American media doesn’t call Castro a dictator — most of them do. But what’s up with the New York Times?


Friday November 24, 2006

For anyone who thinks the Radio Martí thing is over, check out some recent posts at the Pulp and Herald Watch. That’s right — still raging!


Thursday October 12, 2006

Some last thoughts about the Jesús Díaz thing

Jesús Díaz, Jr. Some last thoughts about the Jesús Díaz thing. About a week ago it came out that a certain column by Carl Hiaasen actually played a large role in Díaz’s quitting. The column is a fairly uninspired summary of the Radio Martí fiasco, written in a sarcastic “this is great” mode. The headline is “Finally, someone appreciates journalists’ work.” You get the picture.

Well, this was around the time that the whole fiasco was still blowing up, and apparently Díaz didn’t think it was a good idea to be throwing gasoline on it, so he ordered the column not run. Well, great. But Hiassen is a best-selling author, and lots of people even enjoy his column, so he’s got a certain amount of pull. He threatened to quit, and make a really big stink, first to Díaz and then to the senior management at McClatchy. Reportedly, all it took was a phone call from Howard Weaver, McClatchy’s senior newspaper guy, in which he told Díaz that “we believe in strong columnists.” I think the phone call probably went a little different then all that, with a little back-and-forth in raised tones. Regardless, Díaz that very day; the 16 days until it was made public was because he agreed to give them a chance to find a replacement before making the announcement.

The word “reportedly,” above, links to the Miami Herald article about this whole incident, which is what I find probably most remarkable. Here’s a newspaper reporting on some fairly significant struggles for power within its own walls. And while the article doesn’t say so (and nobody can know for shure), it’s likely that this incident did more to piss Díaz off, and push him out, then the re-hiring of the journalists he fired. Rebecca Wakefield has about as good a summary of this whole saga as you’ll find, and she comes a little closer to saying just that, though.

In the end, the Díaz story is about how different orders of human existence can pull something in different directions, and it has an air of inevitability to it. He had to fire those guys when he did, and he had to take them back, for reasons that were just as strong, though completely different. Rebecca does a great job of teasing out all the separate issues, but really, this is just how things are with human beings: messy.


Wednesday September 20, 2006

Some cranky guy bemoans the death of traffic reports done live from helicopters. Possibly related: Forecast Advisor links to various online weather predictions, and more importantly, lists how accurate each one has been over the last month and year. This type of information should be available for TV station weather. And radio traffic reports!


Friday September 15, 2006

Henry, of Cuban-American Pundits, has started up Herald Watch. He began right before the Marti fiasco perfect timing. This should be interesting.


Tuesday September 12, 2006

A lot of noise about online-only local “magazines” lately. Indi Live Mag was recently written up in New Times (is it me or do they really not give a link??), and is available for download as a PDF or ZIP (someone should tell them that a correctly done PDF is already compressed, so they’re doing nothing by zipping it except making headaches for anyone who doesn’t use WinXP). We also have Category 305, in a more web-readable format, which appears to be pretty nightlife-centered. Update: More information at a secret (?) New Times Blog post that Manola found.


Monday September 11, 2006

At least 10 local journalists accepted U.S. government pay for programs on Radio Martí or TV Martí. El Nuevo Herald fired two of them Thursday for conflict of interest. Whoa. More at the Pulp. The Babalú perspective.


Sunday July 2, 2006

“Cessna Lands On U.S. 27 In Hialeah” LOLz .. quick, take a look at this before they yank it down in shame.


Monday May 22, 2006

Also, Bob Norman looks into the commenting system at Very interesting, though I don’t agree that the Herald is legally responsible for readers’ online comments: see Section 230 protections.