E&P Calls Out Sun-Sentinel

This morning Joe Strupp at Editor & Publisher calls out the Sun-Sentinel on failing to report what's been reported here for weeks: that the newspaper is getting rid of at least 50 employees in the newsroom.

Editor Earl Maucker tells Strupp that he intends to have the layoffs "wrapped up" by the end of the month and that the newspaper is planning a redesign (oh lord) to be unveiled in a month. "Lot of things percolating here," he tells Strupp.

Gee, and here we just thought people were losing their livelihoods. That rascally Sentinel is always hopping! What I found especially dubious was Maucker's explanation for not running a story about the layoffs.

Of concern to several staffers, however, has been the Sun-Sentinel's lack of reporting on the cutbacks, with no stories appearing in the newspaper or on its Web site about the cuts. In most cases, newspapers have reported on their own cutbacks prior to the final reductions.

Maucker said he chose not to report on the changes until they are completed: "It serves nobody's interest to put it out ahead of time. As I've found, it gets butchered in the media, [there is] misinformation."

Since the Pulp is just about the only medium that actually reports on the Sun-Sentinel, I'm going to overlook the mischaracterization (though we do love us some bloody meat). I'm not going to ignore the bad logic, though. Maucker's got it exactly backwards. The reason that newspapers -- or any company -- reports what's happening internally is to head off any misinformation. Obviously, the facts are more likely to get mangled if the newspaper is secretive about it than if it lays it on the table for all to see. That's 101 shit right there.

Just yesterday, after I reported that investigations editor Joe Demma had been laid off, a knowledgable and trenchant commenter wrote:

"I find it astounding that the Sun-Sentinel has not reported on any of this. How will it handle the next local company that lays off people and doesn't want to speak with a reporter?"

Now we know the answer. The Sentinel will say, "We've found that the media tends to butcher such news and spread misinformation, so we understand completely."

(Thanks to Cal Deal for the heads-up).

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman