Letters to the Editor

Letters for December 7, 2000

Flanagan approached us about supporting its stadium project because we are the market leader in South Broward and have a long history of school support, including at Flanagan. Before the school was built, we had already laid the groundwork for a partnership agreement with the administrators.

A final point that bears on this: The Herald last year received one of the major annual partnership awards from the Broward School District because of partnerships we have with many schools across Broward. Flanagan is a big project, but it fits into our history and tradition of support.

On another subject, I appreciate the comment about the enormous respect colleagues have for me (and I for them), but I have to tell you again I really was comfortable and still am with the convention center issue. I respect the ethical discussion surrounding this. I believe it's wrong for journalists to be hamstrung in their reporting by the newspaper's business deals, and I and Alberto Ibargüen are adamant that business deals should never influence coverage.

While our commitment to unencumbered journalism is complete, I don't believe that the journalism side should handicap the paper's ability to make business deals that are good for the paper and in this case good for the community, if all is aboveboard.

In any column you can choose how to frame the issues. Let me suggest you have another way to frame this whole issue of competition between the Sun-Sentinel and The Herald, and I hope you agree this might also be good commentary and perspective for people to know:

The Sun-Sentinel has lost circulation in Broward since 1998, growing glacially in Dade and in the southern part of Palm Beach County.... [S]outh of I-595 in Broward County, they have less circulation than we do, and always have.... [Y]ou mentioned the Swap Shop deal in North Broward, where people buy The Herald, but you did not mention that the Sun-Sentinel has a massive hawker program that is among the biggest in the country, yet it struggles with sales. Hawkers are an initiative -- a trick? -- they use in much greater emphasis than we do....

[A]nd finally, think about this: The Sun-Sentinel has a circulation lead in the southern 20 percent or so of Palm Beach County, the upper 60 percent of Broward, and despite repeated attempts, it has made virtually no progress in Miami-Dade. They recently gave up on their Spanish weeklies in Dade.

Questions: What is the local paper in South Broward? In Dade? For the vast majority of Palm Beach? What is the South Florida Sun-Sentinel masthead they have developed? Is that intended to make people think they are a regional paper? The paper of North Broward/South Palm Beach?

They are doing their best, and I have respect for my counterparts at the Sun-Sentinel. But they are still trying to define their market. Meanwhile we continue to be the circulation leader in the state, the region, in South Broward, in Miami-Dade, and in Spanish.

I'd rather be in our position than theirs.

If you want to explore these issues further, I will be glad to help. But I don't think you need my help -- the facts are out in plain view.

Paul Anger
Broward Publisher, The Herald
Pembroke Pines

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