Sun-Sentinel sports reporter Dave Heeren is retiring after 45 years in the business, 41 of them with the Sun-Sentinel. In his poignant final Sentinel piece, Hereen, who has covered high school sports for years, goes down memory road about his career, Mickey Mantle, George Steinbrenner, the Dolphins, et al. Here's wishing him a wonderful post-newspaper life.
Worth noting is that Hereen begins his story with a telling snafu at the Sun-Sentinel office. He said he came into work three weeks ago and couldn't log onto the computer a month before his scheduled retirement. "A tech expert somberly informed me: 'You're on the termination list.'"
The termination list, huh? Another thing to add to the list next to
Maucker's name: Cuts. Reporters leave and their spot isn't filled. And everybody seems to think deeper cuts are coming to the entire Tribune Co. soon. If it doesn't take the Chandler group's offer to buy it, the giant company might join with a private-equity firm for a major restructuring. Who knows where this is going to end.
None of that is Maucker's fault, of course. I've said it before: Maucker is actually a reporter's editor, a guy who has a belief in strong journalism. Despite all the awful changes he's instituted, he's well-liked. As Tootie Tiller commented in the post below, a lot of it isn't his fault; he's just doing his job. Every plan needs the executioner. Maucker is the Sentinel's executioner.
And of course the Sentinel does good work. The series on gun licenses staying in the hands of felons, written by Megan O' Matz and data guru John Maines, is an example of solid journalism. A lot of reporters do a solid job on a regular basis (John Holland Jon Burstein come to mind immediately). Joe Demma is a first-rate investigations editor. There's at least a couple good stories in the paper everyday (today, check out Sarah Talalay's look at Dan Marino, Hall of Fame quarterback and world-class corporate whore, a story I'd been contemplating -- how can you not when he's on half the billboards in Broward County and constantly selling a weight loss plan to help your "love life" on TV -- but never put any work into).
Point is that while it's clear and apparent that the Sentinel is in the throes of a horrible marketing-based sea change in coverage and content, the talent at the newspaper can't be put down entirely.