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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That irresponsible news media

Each of the three major daily newspapers in Southeast Florida are jettisoning employees. The Palm Beach Post, which I subscribe to, is in the process of cutting 300 jobs.

The Palm Beach Post and Miami Herald have reported what is taking place at their respective papers. On the other hand the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel has been quiet. Joe Strupp at Editor & Publisher writes about this news blackout.

Just days after The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel admitted it was cutting 20% of news staff but not reporting it, The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, another Tribune paper, revealed it was reducing staff under a similar plan.

Sun-Sentinel Editor Earl Maucker told E&P Monday that his paper also plans to cut 20% of its news staff -- now at 290 -- by the end of July. He said the cuts are coming through a combination of voluntary and involuntary departures.
The E&P is the first mainstream publication to report this. Blogger Bob Norman who writes for the Broward-Palm Beach New Times has been talking about the goings on in Ft. Lauderdale for at least a month. Then if I remember correctly, Bob's wife works for the Sun-Sentinel. That would provide him with a good source, but I make a bet Bob has others also.

Disclosure- Bob is the only non-golf blogger in South Florida I've met in person.

So why hasn't the Sun-Sentinel reported on what is happening at their newspaper. The newspaper's Editor Earl Maucker, gives an interesting answer.

Of concern to several staffers, however, has been the Sun-Sentinel's lack of reporting on the cutbacks, with no stories appearing in the newspaper or on its Web site about the cuts. In most cases, newspapers have reported on their own cutbacks prior to the final reductions.

Maucker said he chose not to report on the changes until they are completed: "It serves nobody's interest to put it out ahead of time. As I've found, it gets butchered in the media, [there is] misinformation."
Misinformation being spewed by proud members of the MSM? Say it ain't so Earl? Who are we talking about, the leftist Palm Beach Post or the Miami Herald? The Post and Sun-Sentinel compete actively for readers in South Palm Beach County, but I don't see too many Post staffers rubbing their hands with glee at the carnage in Fort Lauderdale, when worse happenings are taking place at their own paper.

The Broward-Palm Beach New Times is a weekly publication, and in a area with millions of people, has limited reach or influence when it comes to shaping people's views. They however do some good reporting on issues often neglected by South Florida's big 3. Other than them, who is Maucker talking about? Television? maybe. Bloggers? I thought the MSM didn't consider bloggers as members of the media.

Bob Norman writing at his blog, The Daily Pulp says the following about Maucker's misinformation claim-

Since the Pulp is just about the only medium that actually reports on the Sun-Sentinel, I'm going to overlook the mischaracterization (though we do love us some bloody meat). I'm not going to ignore the bad logic, though. Maucker's got it exactly backwards. The reason that newspapers -- or any company -- reports what's happening internally is to head off any misinformation. Obviously, the facts are more likely to get mangled if the newspaper is secretive about it than if it lays it on the table for all to see.
I agree with Bob, if you want to control misinformation, prevent rumors. Rumors are a 100% certainty if a company tries to keep something quiet. I worked for one employer that was having serious financial problems. Employees weren't told anything, but the rumor pipeline was always active. As a result, morale plummeted, as everyone feared for their jobs.

Really it matters little who Maucker is referring to. The lack of trust a Newspaper Editor has for other members of the media.... I wonder if Maucker trusts his own reporters. Remember paranoids even have enemies.

Bob also writes-

"I find it astounding that the Sun-Sentinel has not reported on any of this. How will it handle the next local company that lays off people and doesn't want to speak with a reporter?"

Now we know the answer. The Sentinel will say, "We've found that the media tends to butcher such news and spread misinformation, so we understand completely."
LOL, but not very likely. Only if Broward County's largest member of the media lays off people is it not news. We have some great practitioners of journalistic ethics in Fort Lauderdale, don't you think?

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