Readers Recoil At Herald's Halloween Experiment

As a bit of a Halloween experiment, the Miami Herald published a "ghost story" written by music writer Michael Hamersly that is now occupying prime real estate on the newspaper's webpage. It's a fictional story about a murderous -- and quite insane -- mother which includes this memorable paragraph: "Ve-ron-i-ca-a-a-a, she sang sarcastically. You'd have to be a slut with a slut name like that."

Racy by the Herald's standards, but it's really just a serviceable, if cliched, tale with a slightly chilly finish. Readers, though, seem to think it's more horrible than horrific. Trained to expect straight news from the site, they seem downright angry at the attempt. The first reader comment is a simple: "WTF is this?"

Another chimes in to echo the first, writing, "Now the Herald is trying to write stories to compete with the crap they currently write. WTF."

A third commenter: "Did the site get hacked or something? If this article is posted by one of their employees, maybe they should conduct an investigation on themselves to sort out the crap ..."

The fourth brought up my publication, which is known for the occasional spoof. "Is this New Times or the Herald? What is this supposed to be?"

One has written that it was "scary crap" but all in all it received a negative (and rather small) response.

"They should have posted this article right with Bush's speech about Cuba yesterday!! All everybody thinks is about Halloween!! ... What an embarassment ..."

Yeah, but don't worry about it Herald. Who's afraid of a little criticism, anyway?

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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