Letters From the Issue of February 26, 2009
The Law's Arm Is Broken
I just read Thomas Francis' article on Cliff Berry, and I thought it was exceptional ("Fool Me Thrice," February 12). The community needs to know about people like this and the criminal activities they're getting away with. I think we all know that the legal system in the country is broken and has to change. To continually hear "It's just the way it works" is no longer acceptable.
Your paper and reporters like Francis now have an opportunity to do more than just expose these bad guys. Your articles can provide the awareness and background needed to engage the community in taking action. Previously, most people have relied on the systems in place to handle these situations and, therefore, have done little. Because that option is rapidly disappearing, your paper can be more important than ever in bringing these cases to the forefront and getting the community involved for positive, grass-roots change.
Lyn Evans, Fort Lauderdale
The Shiny Sheet Isn't the Only Sellout
I read your excellent burn article on Shannon Donnelly in New Times ("Shiny Sheet Sellout," Bob Norman, February 5). I am one of many former managing editors of Social Affairs magazine, employed by the Devil Wears Prada-wannabe Norma Quintero. Few are actually familiar with the "luxury lifestyle" publication reporting on the comings and goings of the nouveau riche in Palm Beach and Miami.
Every page placed in the magazine was the product of a P.R. agency or advertiser. Not one idea-generating meeting was held in my 11 months employed. There was no need for brainstorming when Chanel, Natura Bisse, and Oscar de la Renta sent gifts on the regular to the Quinteros, who are independently wealthy and living waterfront on Pine Tree. Neiman Marcus worships the ground Quintero walks on in return for generous coverage in the magazine. There were several meetings, however, in which the Palm Beach Daily News was waved around by the screeching banshee as an example of real journalism. I am not sure if that is ironic or dismal, now that I have read your article. I shudder to imagine the attitude of "Shannogram" Donnelly as a professional.
Amber Smith, Hollywood
Blowing Rock Review Blew
As a theater student, I often find myself attending a plethora of different types of performances for a number of reasons. I also read reviews of the shows I've seen to see what other people think because I feel it's important to be open to everyone's opinions. However, I can safely say that I found Brandon K. Thorp's review of The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock to be one of the most insulting, amateur, and quite frankly unprofessional reviews I have ever read ("Blowing Accents," February 5).
Having seen the show on the opening weekend, I can say that not one person I talked to or was seated near found any of the accents to be anywhere near as offensive as Thorp obviously did. As a theater student focusing on performance, I know how a review can make an actor feel, and I think I can safely say that Thorp's lack of tact and overall lack of judgment when writing this review not only shows a lack of professionalism but also a lack of respect for the people who worked very hard to mount that show.
I hope in the future you will examine your writers in a more careful manner so that this sort of offensive and frankly useless review doesn't make it to print again.
Archie E. Fasulo, West Palm Beach
We Missed the Bottom Line
The article "Live From India" (Eric Barton, January 29) was genius. My only disappointment: You ended by rhetorically asking what outsourced journalists pay but didn't give us the answer. How much did you pay Shalini for that review? And better yet: For that length of review, how much money did you save by using Shalini instead of a local freelancer? Now that information would hammer the point home. Outsourced labor may be cheaper, but that doesn't mean it's as good.
I pulled a similar stunt when I outsourced some of the reporting and writing for a story about outsourcing in Boston mag. In case you're bored at work: bostonmagazine.com/articles/looney_tunes/.
Glad to see New Times is still rocking. I grew up reading it, and I pick it up every time I come back here to visit.
Jason Feifer, Manhattan, New York
Editor's note: Shalini turned in her first sample review for free. We gave her a new assignment: interview Fort Lauderdale mayoral candidates for $10 an article, far less than we normally pay. But she never came through. That's OK, really, because our aim of exposing outsourcing's problems begins to look hypocritical when we start paying.
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