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, Europe 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.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hard news: Let's face it, NOT a lot of of bright spots (or backbone) for hard news reporting in South Florida since Ralph Renick said goodbye; Video: Ralph Renick driving on the Julia Tuttle Causeway towards Miami Beach in 1959, before it opened; Ralph Renick wasn't just a newsman's newsman, he was an attitude, an attitude my friends and I wish were more dominant here instead of the propensity for fluff

Wolfson Archive YouTube Channel video: A Soaring Tuttle Tribute. WTVJ-TV news anchor Ralph Renick, the founding anchor of Florida's first TV station, driving east on the Julia Tuttle Causeway from Miami to Miami Beach in 1959 to show viewers what it would be like, just before it opened. Renick is driving what the Wolfson Archives thinks is a 1959 Simca Aronde Oceane. Uploaded May 9, 2013.

I'm following up on my angry blog post of yesterday morning bemoaning and hectoring the two local South Florida newspapers -Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel- that insist -or is it persist?- in claiming that they're STILL major dailies, for their consistent lack of backbone and commitment to hard news coverage locally or nationally, by way of offering you three videos featuring South Florida's first TV news anchor and journalism icon, Ralph Renick.

For 36 years Renick's distinctive voice was the defining voice of Miami-area journalism and public policy, and for most of those years, he was the most well-known, most-recognized and most-respected man in all of South Florida. (Compare to now.)

Ralph Renick was a smart and shrewd man and cleverly used that power he'd earned over those many years in many very positive ways to help guide a somewhat-isolated and sometimes-youthful and unruly South Florida, towards becoming a more civic-minded place to live and work.
To not accept a poor work ethic and mediocrity and insist on high ideals in politicians and government officials so that when those standards sagged, they knew that he would goad them or go after them.

Renick was not only a man who anchored and reported on the news, but someone who, when he actually showed-up at a government or political event around the area, actually made that event news itself, and always caused a stir when he showed-up.

His being there made it news, and something that you would mention to other people the next day at work or school, back before you could immediately Tweet or blog about it with a photo to boot.

That trust and respect Renick earned came from being very demanding of himself and of the people at the TV station he was so widely identified with, which had a very positive national reputation within the TV news industry, too.

His influence on the reporters, producers and writers he hired and molded was profound, and since his general renown in the area, plus his status as station news director, which was and is very, very unusual, gave him lots of natural advantages that other stations couldn't compete with, like being able to groom young reporters in his serious image, but with their faces and talents, he could keep the standards very high, which only served to give the people who worked there a very real sense of well-earned satisfaction.

There's a reason that people like myself who grew-up or who lived here in the '70's can still remember the names of the field reporters at that station, and that is because they were very talented and worked very hard and didn't cut the corners on quality.
And, in many cases, were so good that many of them wound up working as national reporters for CBS News.
That these traits were also his traits only caused that station to hum in ways that most TV news operations never ever do.

For almost every month that Renick was the anchor, his 6 and 11 p.m. thirty-minute newscasts were the number-one newscast in the market, and the fact that he also did his trademark civics-minded editorials before signing-off and the intro to the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite or Dan Rather, gave his newscasts an extra heft and punch that the three others couldn't match for most of his reign, even with talented people in place there, too.

August 25, 1982 Ralph Renick editorial on WTVJ-4, Miami, on the filming of Scarface in South Florida. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyuJGHrjbRY

I guess what I'm trying to say here today, is that when I talk here on the blog about news reporting and journalism, and doing things the right way, what most stands in contrast to how things are now is that Ralph Renick wasn't just a newsman's newsman, he was an attitude.
A professional arms-length relationship with people and personalities in the news.

I don't want anchors and reporters to be pals and chums with elected officials or Dolphin or Heat players or head coaches, and playing in their charity golf or tennis outings, I want them hungry to keep them honest and above board.

That's an attitude that I and many of my friends seldom see in this TV market now, despite amazing technological innovations that make their jobs easier, and which ought to make it easier as well to tell compelling stories in new and original ways.
But it isn't happening, especially at the newspapers, where things only seem to be getting worse quality-wise.

thecardsaysmoops YouTube Channel video: WTVJ / Miami News Open - November, 1970 - Ralph Renick's Six O'Clock newscast, with its famiar musical theme, which odds as it sounds right now, was actually a comforting sound back in the day, when yours truly was a nine-year old living in North Miami Beach when this took place.
Renick's last newscast for WTVJ was in March, 1985. He died in June of 1991.  http://youtu.be/aCVUJmoBN1M

Honestly, I never feel older than when I think about how influential Renick's newscasts were on me and my friends as kids growing-up in NMB in the 1970's, and our way of looking at South Florida and what it could be someday if only...

And naturally, I can't help but wish that this area now had more people who took their jobs as reporters or govt. officials or community leaders as least as seriously as I want them to take it -and as seriously as Ralph Renick took his big responsibilities- not only for myself, but also so that kids growing-up down here now would know that there are some people here entrusted with power and influence who really take their positions seriously, and don't cut corners and compromise on ethical standards and behavior, so that frivolity and excess are not always shown as the easiest way to go through life.

I want more serious, hard news coverage of local news and so does everyone I know and respect.

In the year 2013, it's fair to ask, "Where's the quality 24/7 Miami/FTL local news cable channel we need and deserve?"

"May the good news be yours..."

My previous four or five blog posts that mention Ralph Renick can be found here:


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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.

If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...

This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.

I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.