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Ralph Says Goodbye

Ralph De La Cruz, who had a column with the Sun-Sentinel for more than seven years, wasn't given the opportunity to write a farewell (his final column, which was about farting, actually ran this weekend). So he made his goodbye here in a post below. Some of it:

I find it embarrassing that we do such a poor job of providing such information to our readers - who ultimately are newspapers' real stake-holders.

And thanks for providing a forum to have these honest, sometimes brutal, online conversations.

At the risk of sounding as if I'm channeling Lee Abrams, I have to point out how ironic, or perhaps how adaptive, it is that we are dealing with all this trauma and grief through the same medium that has hastened the ruin of our industry.

Don't know what that means, but just felt compelled to make the observation.

Second, want to thank everyone who has expressed support for me or outrage about my job loss. Herald and Fraud, I am speechless. Thank you. But you must not have spoken much to Maria or the kids.

In the past two-and-a-half days, I have certainly had moments of depression and mourning - for my paycheck, my column, and also for my industry. But for the most part, I am optimistic and enthusiastic about my chances....

The only regret I have, only bitterness I carry, is not having the chance to say goodbye to my readers. THAT hurts more than I can say.

For me, the Sun-Sentinel was a wonderful ride. And I'm not going to bury the joy of those seven-and-half years to wallow in the self-pity of the last day.

Now it's time to interact and affect the world in other ways, with other people. And I'm pumped about the possibilities.

It's been a distinct pleasure, y'all.

Classic Ralph there, right down to the mention of Maria. I could have gotten worked up about the Sentinel not giving De La Cruz a farewell column, but they shipped him to Palm Beach where the readers barely got to know him. Almost like it was planned. Nah, couldn't be. So his last words in the newspaper were "Knock me over and pull my finger." Something beautiful about that. The big secret about De La Cruz: He's got real journalistic chops.

-- I'm going to start really keeping track of the silly drivel that the Sentinel puts up as the lead story on its website. I'm not saying the Sentinel shouldn't link this stuff; I'm saying that leading the homepage with it is not only incredibly low-rent and insulting to readers, but irresponsible. Remember, the lead story is one the newspaper is saying is the most important thing they have to share with readers at that moment. And when it's Miss Cleo or "Is She Brain Dead?" then everybody loses. On Saturday, the lead headline for much of the day was: "ShamWow guy accused of fight with prostitute." It led to a paragraph with a link to a story on The Smoking Gun. And you could feel your IQ and the IQ of entire Sentinel readership slip further down the slope as you looked at it.

-- Finally, as an aside, the next time you're doing illegal drugs at a party and anyone pulls out a camera and starts taking pictures or video, tackle that person and break whatever photographic device they're using. Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and espouse violence and property destruction on this one. Michael Phelps would tell you the same thing (as long as their were no cameras around).

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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

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