Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

re The Miami Herald: What's black & white, increasingly unread and continually resented? Why is McClatchy Corp. doing nothing as the Herald slides further into irrelevancy, and further alienating its readers by the clear lack of a tangible strategic plan -or even effort- to change? They're running multiple stories on front of website that are weeks old!

re The Miami Herald: What's black & white, increasingly unread and continually resented? Why is McClatchy Corp. doing nothing as their Miami Herald slides further into irrelevancy, and further alienating its own readers by clear lack of a tangible strategic plan -or even effort- to change? They're running multiple stories on front of website that are weeks old!

Last Monday, I sent the email below to some high-ranking executives at McClatchy Corp HQ -in Sacramento- the parent company of The Miami Herald, along with bcc copies to some other interested parties throughout South Florida, the state and the country who wonder -like me- why this area continues to be so severely underserved by The Herald despite the advent of new and rather technology the past ten years that makes actually covering and reporting on everyday news events or even investigating more-complicated stories, easier and quicker than ever.

Why do we STILL see no tangible sign that there's an actual plausible and logical plan in place at One Herald Plaza to actually improve the overall news product and become much more responsive to South Florida's readers desire for better and more-thorough local news coverage? 
Why is there so much resistance to what is staring them right in the face and what what their remaining readers actually want?
It's very, very strange counter-intuitive behavior.

Which is not to say that the South Florida Sun-Sentinel or any of the news operations for the four Miami-area English language TV stations are doing their viewers any favors, either, or being any more responsive, as I mentioned the other in discussing how none of them have done a single campaign story this year on 36-year Broward States Attorney Michael Satz or the two men who plan to ease him out of his office with extreme prejudice.

(By the way, could we all just agree amongst ourselves that stories about diets, fashion, plastic surgery, celebrities-in-jail/celebrity-shoot-outs and phony corporate-sponsored events on South Beach shouldn't be run or mentioned on the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts? That'd be a great start!)

And to point out just three of the many more-obvious things that I've previously mentioned here that are currently missing in the Herald, why in the year 2012 do we STILL not see a single Broward-centric columnist in their pages, a South Florida-based conservative columnist who is NOT a former pol or campaign adviser and who can write persuasive prose that respects both history and reality?
Or even an education blog that is more than simply a random collection of PR releases from publicists, School Boards and colleges?

In the past few months, because I spend so much time reading domestic and foreign news sites and blogs that give me more of what I actually want before I go to sleep, I've gotten in the habit of not actually looking at the physical copy of the Herald until sometime after 4 p.m.

And yet partially because of that new reading habit, just within the past month, I've voluntarily put the kibosh temporarily on 6-8 different blog posts that I've written that dealt with some aspect of problems that I detected in the Herald.

Whether it was dealing with the reporter's inaccurate use of facts, insufficient use of facts, misleading statements, continuing reliance on a source that is not objective, down to the brutal coverage of the Jonathan Vilma Saints bounty-gate story, where despite the fact that Vilma went to high school and college down here -Coral Gables High School & U-M- there was no original Herald reporting or analysis the next day, just wire service copy.

This was 100% accurate when I wrote it on June 12th, and one of the two stories I refer to was still displayed on the Herald's website with a photo as of Noon Monday afternoon.

What's black & white and continually read -but resented? 
It's a rhetorical question because there are currently two stories featured on the Miami Herald's
website that are one week old -or olderWhy?

We all know it's because of the Herald's continued and pronounced geographical bias for news coverage.
One article is about Miami Beach and the other is about Coral Gables. In fact, the Coral Gables
story is 12 days old.
But The Herald loves both cities and considers them both simpatico and part of the Herald's natural coverage area, while I and my neighbors, 14.2 miles due north, are considered outliers.

If either piece I've highlighted below in red had happened in Broward County, and Hallandale Beach in particular, they'd have vanished from that webpage within about 30 hours, if that long.
But a week later, these two particular stories remain.

Even as there is nothing in the newspaper about any of about a dozen different stories regarding Broward County people, places and events that I can think of.

Like, for instance, a story about the 36-year incumbent States Attorney and his (perceived)
failed legacy against police, govt. and political corruption.
But the Herald has chosen not to write a single story this year about his campaign race,
so five months have come and gone and now, as of today, he is eight-weeks removed from a
primary election challenge and 21-weeks from a general election challenge if he survives the first.
But the Herald has written nothing about him, and, of course, because of that, they've also
written nothing about his opponents.
That's no way to run a newspaper.

And far, far too often, at almost any time of the day you check it, day or night, too often to be
mere coincidence, the Herald's Broward homepage 
consists of a majority of stories that have nothing to do with this county, the sixth-largest in the
fourth-largest state in the country.

Last week, checking at random, at different times of the day, on four separate occasions, only
two of the seven featured stories on the Herald's Broward homepage had stories that had anything to do with anyone, anything or any issue in Broward County
That's no way to run a newspaper.

WHEN are we finally going to see some some tangible, positive changes at the newspaper that reflect the genuine interests of the population of South Florida, particularly those of us that live north of the Miami-Dade countyline?
It's getting worse by the month, worse by the week, and worse by the day...

As I've told you previously, that iceberg on the horizon isn't going away, so if a course correction isn't made soon, the Herald will once and for all pass the point of no return for many readers like me who've held out hope that changes were afoot.

At some point, the survival of the newspaper is merely an academic exercise, not one that most of my friends and neighbors will care about after so many years of consistently sub-par performance that irked them instead of informing them.

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