Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Sentinel Takes A Holiday

Herald reporter Todd Wright keeps up his surprisingly strong Hollywood coverage (compared to the newspaper's past performance) today with a piece on the ethically challenged consultant Bernard Zyschovich. Not surprisingly the dysfunction Hollywood city commission voted to keep Zyscovich even after Wright reported that the consultant had been working for private developers in the town that could benefit from the paid advice he was giving to the city. Quote of the day from Mayor Mara Giulianti: ''Serving two masters is the nature of this kind of thing. We all wear two hats up here, and when we work in our private practices we serve multiple masters. I don't see the conflict."

More generally, we find that the Herald is, on this day, far superior to the Sentinel even on the latter paper's home turf in Broward County, which unfortunately for the Tribbies is not a rare occurrence. In addition to Wright's strong Hollywood story, we get a good in-depth article about the unique corruption of former Davie manager Chris Kovanes. It was done by Nikki Waller and relative Herald newbie Dan Christensen (yes, a bonafide Christensen sighting!). Christensen is an old-school reporter extraordinaire who left the Daily Biz for the job at the Herald. I was afraid the Herald's bureaucracy might swallow the tough and independent Christensen. Hope that doesn't happen, since he's one of the best this place has to offer, as today's piece hints at. And while we're on the Herald, check out Amy Sherman's story about Pembroke Pines. Got to love the way she challenges the overpaid consultant in the lede.

Yes, the Herald had a strong day, but the Sentinel? Nothing, really, in terms of strong local government reporting. Nothing. I would complain about it, but that kind of apathy has kept us over at New Times in business for years.

The Pulp Gets Juiced
Yesterday, the Pulp was posted on Romenesko, the King of All Media Blogs. Specifically, it was the thing about the conflict at the Herald over 'web duty.' We got several comments here and Romenesko also recieved some letters on the subject. A lot of the opinions voiced here boiled down to this: The Herald staff is full of whiners who are living in the past.

I don't agree with that. First of all, nobody is saying the Internet isn't vitally important. It sort of boils down to the difference between detectives and street cops. Journalism is a tough thing and the best and most important stories, like cracking a case, involve a whole lot of work. Getting yanked off of that kind of thing to do morning traffic checks is ludicrous.

At the same time, Rick Hirsch is obviously right that the Herald needs to keep its site current with breaking news. The problem isn't the idea, it's the execution. Either hire a part-timer to come in and do it (there are lots of good free-lancers and former reporters out there who would like to have the work) or create a new position that incorporates the early duty. Or make it a part of day cops, though I think that would be a big mistake. As has been stated before, the Pulp is partial to good crime stories and relegating crime writers to web updaters is a bad idea.

Speaking of good crime stories, it's time for the Story of the Day. By Jay Weaver, it's your standard "cute-little- puppies-sliced-open-and-used-as-drug-mules" story. But it was told better than most.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan Christensen is one of the best there is. We are sorry we didn't get him.

Buddy Nevins
Sun-Sentinel

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Herald wouldn't have even done its Kovanes story had Sun-Sentinel reporter Jon Burstein not broken the whole thing wide open by going through 700 pages of discovery on the case. That stuff had been sitting there for the taking, and Burstein took the time to do it.
The Sentinel isn't all apathetic!

2:21 PM  

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