Archive for April, 2008

No problem; I can still get in!

This was sent to me by a City of Miami police officer!


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One of my favorite Saturday afternoon activities as a kid was going to downtown Miami to see a movie. (Yes, that’s where all the movie theatres were.)

One movie I will never forget was 1958’s (No pun intended) A Night to Remember. The movie was a very factual depiction of the sinking of the Titanic.

I sat on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film. It was a classic disaster picture.

We all know the story; The Titanic, on its maiden voyage, struck an iceberg and eventually sank and over 1500 people lost their lives. A little over 700 survived even though there were lifeboats for almost 1200 people.

Many of those on board that night believed that it was impossible for the Titanic to sink; it was unsinkable after all. The Titanic was warned of icebergs in the area it was sailing but some of those warnings never reached the captain. Once the ship struck the iceberg; leadership and rational behavior took a back seat to confusion and panic.

After reading the latest report on circulation declines at the Herald I have this suspicion that many who work at that once great newspaper must have some sense of what it must have been like to have been on board the Titanic that cold night in April of 1912.

The Herald continues to experience circulation losses in the range of 10%–more or less–every six months.

Other newspapers are experiencing losses but on a smaller scale. Only the Dallas Morning News, which has a much larger circulation, experienced a decline of something close to 11%.

By comparison the state’s largest newspaper, The St. Petersburg Times lost a little over 2%.

The inescapable truth is that if the Herald continues to lose 10% of its circulation every six months then how long will it be before their circ dips below 200,000?

Comparisons between the Titanic’s demise and the Herald’s predicament are unavoidable.

Like the Titanic, people who run the Herald — and other newspapers — were warned about the dangers that lay ahead. And like the Titanic, people in the newspaper industry either didn’t get the message or when they got it they chose to ignore it or at the very least, downplay the harsh reality. And when they decided to act, they acted too slowly.

And now, confusion and panic are setting in. And it appears, that no one at One Herald Plaza knows what to do next.

Case in point…people with dozens of years of newspaper experience can’t even make a simple everyday editorial decision without screwing it up.

As everyone knows, the future of journalism is on the Internet.

But the Herald’s website is an absolute disaster and has been for a very long time.

It’s evident that no one there has the desire or expertise to change it.

Instead they are trying to make up for circulation losses with Internet page views silly features; some of them looking very much like soft porn.

All this from a newspaper that’s won close to 20 Pulitzer Prizes.

No one has called for the lifeboats to be launched yet. But when they are launched it will be interesting to see who gets in and who goes down with the ship.

If the Herald is to survive they have to figure out what they’ve done wrong in the past and try not to make the same mistakes again.

And, as in the case of the Titanic, they might not get a second chance.

Footnote: The Herald carried an AP story about the just released circulation figures but conveniently left out out their own dismal numbers.

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Gas is $4.00 a gallon, we’re stuck in a war in Iraq that’s killed over 4,000 American servicemen and women, people are losing their homes in record numbers and the polar ice cap is melting.

But this is what the media is fixated on: Miley Cyrus’s “nude” photos in Vanity Fair magazine shot by Annie Liebovitz..

In the story that accompanies the article in VF Miley says: “You can’t say no to Annie…She’s so cute. She gets this puppy-dog look, and you’re like, OK.”

A lot of words come to mind when I think of Annie Liebovitz but “cute” isn’t one of them!

(However the puppy dog look doesn’t always work and Annie doesn’t always get her way. Look what happened when she tried to get the queen to remove her tiara last year.)

Meanwhile, Miley, apparently at the urging of her Disney handlers, has changed her tune about the shoot–that was attended by her father–“I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic,’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed.”

Uh, yeah…sure! Miley like every other 15 year old girl, seemingly changes her mind every 15 minutes.

The New York Post, that overseer of America’s morals, called the photos “MILEY’S SHAME” on its front page. But not all that shameful as they chose to run one of the sleazy pics. Must have done wonders for newsstand sales.

And according to Vanity Fair, the nefarious photo shoot has parents threatening to host Hannah Montana bonfire parties. Great! Once again Americans will get to demonstrate how infantile they can really be!

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Seriously; is there anyone over the age of 12 or with an IQ higher than 85 who finds this crap funny?

His stuff is so tired….and unfunny.

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So I guess the news all the sports nerds will be talking about today is Pat Riley resigning as Heat coach.

I was going through some old newsphotos in my files and came across this. (above)

I shot it on assignment for the New York Times on Dec. 7, 1988 following the Miami Heat’s loss to the Sacramento Kings. The Heat were well on their way to an 0-17 start in their inaugural season, an NBA record.

The Times asked me to get photos that showed them playing badly.

The Heat were losing all of their games because the other teams were scoring more points. I wasn’t sure how one or two images could convey that.

I guess I could have waited until the game was over and shot the scoreboard but I don’t think the photo editors at The Times would have appreciated that.

So I shot game action hoping for a telling moment…some kind of picture that would sum up the Heat’s dismal first season so far. I got a shot of coach Ron Rothstein ranting on the sidelines and looking frustrated.

After the game I wandered back to the locker room, not really sure if there was a picture that would tell the story.

One of the players was being interviewed and the light from a TV camera was spilling onto center Scott Hastings who was on a bench caught up in a private moment. I immediately focused on him with an 85mm lens and banged off a few frames. I don’t even think he knew I was shooting him.

I do remember Rony Seikaly shooting me a nasty look.

The story of the Heat’s wretched performance ran in the Times two days later with the photo of Hastings as the main picture.

It’s hard to say by looking at the photo if Hastings is really shedding tears and I never said so in my caption. But he’s certainly not happy.

However the photo didn’t sit well with Heat honchos. I learned later that they had instituted a rule as a result of my photo that forbade entry by still photographers into the locker room without a special credential. Also forbidden was the taking of photographs of players without permission.

A week after the game against Sacramento the Heat would get their first win against the Clippers in L.A.

The Heat went on to post a terrible 15-67 record that first season.

Pat Riley’s record this past season. 15-67!!

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…the more they stay the same.

From the New York Times:“Forty years ago, a young radical Columbia Law student named Gus Reichbach became the first student prominently disciplined by Columbia University for his participation in the blockades and protests in 1968.

He is now Justice Gustin L. Reichbach of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.”

Two days ago he returned to Columbia to speak on the 40th anniversary of the protests. And apparently “the man” is still on his case …even after 40 years! Watch the video!

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OMG!!! WTF?? :=(

Let’s see what happens when they go to look for jobs!

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