There is no mystery to the demise of the daily paper. Newspaper Death Watch claims that the reason newspapers across the country are going out of business is, “The daily newspaper as we know it was designed for an age when people consumed their news at the same time every day. Thanks to the profusion of computers in the workplace and smart phones in the pocket, people now access news whenever it’s convenient for them. The news organizations that survive will move to a “digital first” strategy with all deliberate speed.”
I also have my own theories. For one thing, reporters have been allowed to inject their own opinions and political ideologies into stories that are supposed to simply report the news and the facts that support the stories. In other words, everyone wants to be a critic. Journalistic integrity is hard to find, and most people want their news without bias. For another thing, while editorials are indeed the opinions of the newspaper’s editor, a periodical needs a reasonably intelligent person at the helm writing them.
Alas, the editor of The Miami Herald doesn’t appear to be one of them. In an editorial published on January 13, 2012, the editor rightly stated that North Miami mayor Andre Pierre should have apologized for calling Councilman Michale Blynn’s daughters “prostitutes,” in response to Mr. Blynn’s remark about the mayor’s nephew being arrested. The column states, “Mr. Blynn wants to keep [garbage] collection in house, under the city’s control. In making his case, Mr. Blynn brought up a sore topic — touchy, but legitimate.”
The editor further remarks, “A vigorous give-and-take from the dais is one thing, even a healthy sign of the kind of thorough debate policy issues warrant. But serious public business should not be subsumed by irrelevant personal attacks, especially those based on hurtful hypotheticals, as was Mr. Pierre’s attack.”
Then the editor wraps up his op-ed piece with, “Hey, at least no one said, ‘Yo mama.’”
Seriously? Does the editor of The Miami Herald, a major newspaper, really think this is a classy or professional way to express his opinion? If so, he’s sadly mistaken.
I was watching a movie last night and I had to chuckle when one of the characters told a blogger that he was no journalist because “Blogging is not reporting. It’s just graffiti with punctuation.” While I hardly consider what bloggers do as mere graffiti, and most of us are sticklers about punctuation, we are certainly not reporters. We’re not even editors. We simply write our opinions and most of us hope that enough people are reading our blogs to justify the blog site’s existence. Some bloggers don’t even care if they have an audience as long as they entertain themselves. But the bottom line is, most bloggers are not professional journalists and don’t represent major publications.
And even I, humble blogger that I am, would never resort to a racist and juvenile comment expressing relief that a black person didn’t say “Yo mama.”
If that’s the type of “professionalism” we can expect from the editor of The Miami Herald, one wonders if our home town newspaper shouldn’t be next on the chopping block. One also wonders how low the standards might be in journalism schools these days, and the type of graduates they produce. Apparently the job pool is woefully lacking in qualified applicants. Maybe the Herald should consider a blogger for the position. I’m just saying.
“Spreading the Wealth”