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Sentinel Blows Death Coverage of Boca Raton News

So freelancer Jack Furnari publishes on a Sun-Sentinel blog that the Boca Raton News has been shut down and that all the employees were told they were "no longer employed."

Then the Sun-Sentinel does a short story with no byline on it and writes that the newspaper is going online only and that the employees will work from home. It quotes Editor John Johnston: "We're going to do exactly what we're doing now: run a proactive and involved website covering Boca Raton and Delray Beach." 

This seemed to contradict what Furnari (and I) had reported. The BS alarm went off right away. The Boca News website is, frankly, pathetic. It's full of Google ads that pay percentages of pennies per click. Now I learn that it's also part of something called, which appears to be another South Florida Media Group creation that concentrates (if you can call it that) on Coral Springs, Parkland, Delray Beach, and Boca Raton.  

Well, I learned from a source that the Boca Raton News website brings in all of about $900 a month in revenues, which obviously isn't enough to support any employees. Johnston, I learned, is basically going to be a one-man show for what's left of the newspaper online and will not only write for it but also try to sell ads. 

More power to Johnston. He's just another working stiff in the dwindling journalism game trying to make a dime (aren't we all at this point?). But the misleading Sentinel coverage just accentuates the way that area, south Palm Beach mainly, isn't being covered worth a damn. The Palm Beach Post is even worse; the newspaper didn't even mention the closing of the Boca Raton News, which has been operating in its backyard for more than half a century and has a fascinating history (click here to read about -- especially the comments).

But the Palm Beach Post wasn't the only newspaper in the area not to cover the newspaper shutdown. Neither did the... Boca Raton News. Click here to see a PDF version of its final copy (that's the last front page above). There was no mention to its remaining readers that this was the last issue. One reason for that is that the Sunday paper was already in the can before Friday's doomsday staff meeting. It was always finished by Thursday, begging the question of whether it was technically still even a newspaper at all.

-- The Miami Herald publishes a story on Broward County's $109 million budget deficit. (Yeah, I know the Herald wasn't the original source, but who cares? They want to play that game, we can all play it.) The budget crisis has prompted the county to plan 250 layoffs, close some parks, and threaten our libraries and museums. So what is the commission doing? Mayor Stacy Ritter and her pal Ilene Lieberman are planning on spending all our money on a new courthouse the voters don't want to pay for. I kind of feel sorry for them -- Ritter and Lieberman put a lot of time into trying to hoodwink the public with their sham task force, but their timing is shit. These charlatans you elected can't catch a break.

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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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