Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Stories of the Day

Stories of the Day

This is the first Story of the Day not going to a reporter who is employed by a South Florida newspaper. At least not technically. Maya Bell is the South Florida bureau for the Orlando Sentinel. It's an envy-producing gig to be sure. She basically works solely on big stories and issues that interest her. But if anyone deserves such a wonderful job, it is Bell (whose husband, Robert Nolin, waxes poetic for the Sun-Sentinel). She's a dedicated reporter and talented writer, easily one of the best journalists in South Florida. And the story of hers this week (yeah, I'm a little late with this one) is an insight-inducing look not only at what's happening now but also at what the future holds for the area. It's about people who commute five hours a day to work menial labor jobs in the Keys.

The basic theme is continued in this article by the Sentinel's Brittany Wallman (see previous posts if you don't know her connection to me). Wallman writes about Fort Lauderdale's dabbling with the idea of extending housing welfare subsidies to people making up to $70,000 a year. It's the Californication of South Florida.

Honorable mention goes to Robert P. King of the Palm Beach Post, who wrote a great piece on "radical animal activists" who go after people and companies who hurt animals during research with a vengeance. They even stoop to gluing people's doors shut, those scoundrels. King got this great quote from the reputed mastermind: "I hope our movement doesn't cross that line into actually killing somebody," Atwood said. "I just don't shed any tears if he had a bump on his head." This would have been story of the day had it not been a follow-up to an article in the London Times. But if you want to see an example of how good a folo can be, read King.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since you insist on believing that any story done by one SoFla paper that was previously in other must, de facto, be "stolen," I'd refer you to the excellent front-page story the Herald's Cara Buckely wrote on May 20, 2004 about the Keys commute.

Here's the top:

It's too early to be up. The moon is riding high, and sunrise is a good hour away, but for the four souls pressed against one another on a small bench outside Wal-Mart in Florida City, this is how most days begin.
Set the alarm for 4:30 a.m., dress, eat, get someone to drive you to the bus stop by 5:30 a.m. Wait in the eerie pool of orange fluorescent light as dozens more emerge from the darkness to wait alongside you. Wave hello as the bus driver pulls up, climb aboard, settle in for the two-hour journey south. Try to sleep. Work begins when the journey ends, and eight hours after that, it's another two-hour trip back home.
Every day this pattern repeats as hundreds of workers from South Miami-Dade travel one county south to the Florida Keys, where the pay is better and demand for cashiers, security guards and laundry workers high.
Tony White, 21 years old, from Naranja, says his stockboy job at the Kmart in Marathon - 83 miles away - pays $3 more per hour than jobs close to home.
His friend Yvette Young, 26 and also from Naranja, figures working as a cashier at Marathon's Burger King earns her an extra $4 an hour.

I'm not suggesting that anyone stole that story. Quite the opposite: I'm suggesting that a good, meaty enterprise story can develop independently at more than one paper.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Err... that should've said: "Cara Buckley," not Buckely.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Florida Pulp said...

Thanks for education, anonymous. And you're dead right.

12:51 PM  

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