Thursday, March 09, 2006

No Fellowship Of The Ring

I got an e-mail yesterday with the the subject line: "Post rips off Sentinel." The claim was that Post reporter Sofia Sontana had blatantly stolen Jerome Burdi's life-confirming story from March 3 about a Boynton Beach firefighter who found an extremely valuable ring in his home and returned it to the former owner of the home, who was grateful as all get-out. The e-mailer, who went by the name Malcolm English, wrote:

"And look at how the Post backed into the story -- talking all about the national media attention but not mentioning until deep in the story that the reason the guy is getting national media attention is because he found a couple's ring that had been missing for decades. Perhaps you should link to both stories and let your readers decide who is purloining from whom."

Okay, here's Santana's story, which ran five days later. I'm siding with Mr. English on this one. Because so much of Santana's article was about the impact of the Sentinel exclusive, she should have cited the original source. But let's face it, that ain't gonna happen between those two newspapers. Not here. Not now. Not ever. It's a low-down dirty fight -- and it'd be disappointing if it weren't.

Speaking of Credit

For all I write in this thing about newspapers not giving credit to other publications, I honestly don't get very mad when the Sentinel and Herald steal my stuff. Low expectations, I suppose. But I still don't like it when they follow my stuff and then mislead their own readers about how the information came to the surface. It's happened more times than you would think -- including today. The Sentinel's Ihosvani Rodriguez did this story about the state ethics commission's ruling on Southwest Ranches' private town manager John Canada. In it, he writes: "[Town Attorney Gary] Poliakoff was asked for his opinion after a number of residents and council members questioned Canada's actions."

In the words of Martin Landau's Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood, "Bullshit!"

An investigative piece I did on the town called Cash Cow led to that ruling and everybody who knows the Ranches knows that, including Herald reporter Amy Sherman. She cited New Times in her article today, which was actually far superior in every way to the Sentinel flop. But that was only because Sherman made the same mistake as Rodriguez while following the Cash Cow fallout last year. I told her about it and that prompted the Herald to look at the issue.

"From talking with Amy, it sounds like your report played a significant role in bringing some of the town issues to a head," assistant city editor Scott Andron wrote me last year. "I can see how it might have been helpful to our readers to mention this in our story. Your note prompted some internal discussions here, and we will be clarifying our guidelines on when to mention an article in another publication."

Why, that ... no, it can't be ... I don't know, but that looks like responsible leadership.

The CJR Nails FitzSimons. Hard.

The latest edition of CJR came in the mail yesterday and I'm betting that most of you haven't seen it. That's why I thought I'd post this stinging rebuke of Tribune Co. CEO Dennis FitzSimons' December speech to Wall Street analysts in New York. Though it doesn't mention the Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune bastard child when it comes to national attention, it brings much-needed context to the company and gives us a clue as to what is really valued behind the walls at 200 East Las Olas. Click on the page there and then blow it up to read it.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

great job singling out a reporter who did nothing wrong and recognizing a reporter who is starved for attention. It's no secret that the bloodiest media war is happening in southern Palm Beach County. Do you not think the Sentinel has followed Post stories without giving credit? Ha!

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a second...This wasn't some huge investigative piece Burdi dug up on his own. He got a tip and wrote the story. It was an interesting story, so numerous media outlets followed it. Big deal. It happens every day. And on any given day you'll find the Sentinel following an "exclusive" Post story...and not crediting the Post.
Burdi's ego obviously needed to be coaxed and you did it for him. Pathetic.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob,
Unless there have been some major changes in Ihosvani's life since I worked with him 10 years ago, he's a guy, not a "she."

7:52 AM  
Blogger Florida Pulp said...

Thank you for the heads-up. My apologies to Ihosvani. I don't know why that struck me as a feminine name, but it did.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering -- when will the name of this blog change from "The Daily Pulp" to "Bash the Sentinel Into a Pulp"? Because that seems to be all this blog has become, and that's disappointing.

Since we're on the subject of credit here and Post reporters are calling out the Sentinel for not giving "credit," when exactly will the Post stop calling its competition the "Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel?" The name has been South Florida Sun-Sentinel for years now, but you don't see that in the Post (when they have to refer to the paper at all).

Talk about not giving proper credit -- the Post won't even attempt to get the name right. I wonder why? When I was in j-school, when you got a name wrong, you got an F.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this ain't j-school.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Susan Stabley said...

Hey, let's give props where props are due. The local rags are all right, at least if the leaked information about the Pulitzers is true. The Miami Herald got one nom, and three for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel (I can say that; I was born here - and mourn the Sunshine and Tropic and XS mags/tabs.) Say Bob, ain't that worth a blog...and an happy fuzzy, furry puppies one at that?
http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002155736

8:53 PM  
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10:06 PM  

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