Did anyone else get déjà vu reading the front page of the Miami Herald yesterday? Its feature story, "Condo Caverns," was strikingly similar to New Times' cover story last week, "Postcards From the Bust," written by yours truly.
My story looked at life inside some of the ghostly high-rise condos that crowded South Florida's skyline during the real estate boom and are now struggling to find residents. The Herald story did the same thing, except the reporter, James H. Burnett III, focused mainly on Miami, while I spanned Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Don't get me wrong -- I appreciate the compliment. And my ego isn't quite big enough to believe that Burnett copied my idea. During this historic housing bust, more than one reporter is bound to be curious about what's happening inside a bunch of mostly empty buildings. But the timing of the article still seems odd.
Less than two weeks ago, the Herald ran a fluff piece about how the Miami condo market is supposedly recovering, as more renters move into empty units. I called their bluff on this blog, noting that in fact, out of 11,800 new condo units that came onto the Miami market in 2008, only 36 percent have sold. Burnett, of course, included a similar figure in his story.
This makes you wonder about the communication skills among editors at the Herald. How can a positive condo story run a couple of weeks before a negative one that contradicts it? Isn't that a tad bit confusing for readers?
A commenter on yesterday's Herald story put it best:
dramamean wrote on 06/22/2009 11:25:22 AM:
This is the Heralds response to an article that appeared in last weeks New Times. In that article, they showed how every area in South Florida is dealing with this issue and they also called out The Herald for running a front page story that tried to make this seem like a positive thing.. lol, now, this week, The Herald runs their own version of the story.. monkey see, monkey do