The Herald Rides Again -- Filling the Void Online
Remember the Miami Herald? There was a time when the Herald had statewide influence, and was especially strong from Palm Beach south. It certainly set the agenda for Broward County. Alas, it is hardly seen in Broward these days – at least not north of Hollywood where most of the action takes place. That once-honored paper has been in a slow steady retreat toward its namesake city, leaving behind the bodies, still breathing, of a number of distinguished staffers let go in the cutbacks.
We are pleased to report some of the staffers have come to life, joined by a number of other prominent names once associated with other news organizations. Broward Bulldog (www.browardbulldog.org) is the name and is goes online this week as a non-profit site dedicated to filling the void left by the decline of the major dailies. If things go according to plan, Bob Norman of New Times Broward/Palm Beach won’t be the only journalist breaking the juicy stories. Online journalism has been gaining attention, with a big spike recently for the "Daily Pulp" by Norman. Readership has doubled recently since he broke just about all the big corruption stories thrilling Broward County lobbyists. Former Sun-Sentinel political reporter Buddy Nevins also has an interesting blog,
The new group, organized by former Herald reporter Dan Christensen, has impressive credentials. He has spent several months lining up colleagues and financing. He points out the site is a work in progress, depending upon resources. Just because you are non-profit doesn’t mean writers don’t get paid, and this group has some strong names. Buddy Nevins is on the board of directors, along with Kevin Boyd, who was city editor of the old Hollywood Sun (a.k.a. Sun-Tattler) before Scripps let it go. Others are Jonathon King, former Sun-Sentinel reporter who has turned to mystery writing -- with good success. Another is Ellen Soteber, former managing editor of the Sun-Sentinel and more recently editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She is back in Fort Lauderdale. Julie Kay, president of the Society of Professional Journalists of South Florida is also a board member. You may not see all these bylines, for some are basically surviving in public relations, but their advice and consent is valuable.
The biggest name of all is Michael Connelly, long a best-selling crime story writer. So long that many people forget he grew up in Fort Lauderdale and worked for the Sun-Sentinel before hitting it big in fiction. Connelly was an exceptional police reporter and was part of the team nominated for Pulitizer Prize for coverage of the Delta Flight 191 plane crash in the mid 1980s. According to Christensen, Connelly made a contribution to get Broward Bulldog off the ground.
“We plan to do authoritative local reporting, covering government, politics, education, business, the courts and public safety,” says Christensen. “Our focus will be what’s not being covered by our downsized daily newspapers, and what’s not being covered well. We’ll tell our readers what’s really going on behind the scenes.”
As for Mike Connelly’s involvement, Christensen adds: “He’s a former colleague and although he no longer lives in South Florida, he provided seed money to help us get up and running because he’s aware of the decline of local newspapers and cares about good journalism.”