Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Miami Herald slammed for not honoring 44-year employee with an obituary

Upset that long-term Miami Herald employee Margaret Carroll was not honored with an obituary after her passing, columnist Glenn Garvin posted the following on an employee message board:

Three weeks ago, my ... our ... good friend Margaret Carroll died. Margaret worked at the Miami Herald, I believe, 44 years. (Update: That's correct.)


Maggie started at the Herald in January 1964 ... that is, she got here before the Beatles did.) She wasn't a big political mover and shaker, because working in a newsroom makes that impossible, but she was a funny and interesting character who as a reporter covered some big stories ... among them, the trial of a group of Miami mercenaries who bombed Papa Doc Duvalier's presidential palace in Haiti ... and whose career as an editor spanned from the era of pastepots and cries of "Copy!'' to the time of pagination and the web. I've no doubt a reporter who spent couple of hours on the phone or even walked around the newsroom talking to Maggie's pals would have come up with a string of fascinating and hilarious stories about her.


But that didn't happen ... Maggie didn't get a Herald obituary. Somehow she was deemed less worthy than a sportwriter who spent 60 years at a newspaper in Huntington, West Virginia; the security director of the Detroit Lions; and a retired photo editor of the Associated Press who lived in Pawley, Pennsylvavia, all of whom had obits in Sunday's paper. None of those individuals, so far as I know, ever lived within a thousand miles of South Florida, and if there was anything innately fascinating or broadly significant about them, it was certainly not apparent from their obituaries.



So can someone please explain who gets an obituary and why? Why do we reward employee loyalty to the Huntington Herald Dispatch or the Associated Press more highly than loyalty to our own? ...

Click here for more.
.
.
.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

And the Obit came out on Saturday or Monday didn't it?

Is that the punch line?

Last time I checked Obits are put in by the family IF THEY WANT THEM. Now had the Herald charged the family for the Obit, then that would have been a different story.

Anonymous said...

It seems all papers have gone to a pay to play strategy for obits coupled with a few obits that the paper deems interesting. I personally find their obit choices strange and arbitrary.

It's another way that the papers have been sticking their thumb in the eye of the people who (used to) read the paper.

Anonymous said...

Classified obits are paid space and these are usually placed by the funeral director with information supplied by the family.

News obits are NOT paid and a family request is not the driving factor in getting one published.

Why didn't Maggie get a new-hole obit? Maybe the timing was such that they didn't have anyone to gather and write what was needed for an obit. Such as, the usual obit person on furlough? Maybe there has been so much turnover and she had been away from the Newsroom for so long that it didn't occur to anyone to assign an obit. Stories like this need an advocate with institutional memory.

Sorry to disillusion the conspiracy theorists but there was no conscious "decision" not to do an obit on Magie.

Maybe Glenn Garvin should have raised his hand and volunteered instead of waiting for an opportunity to bitch about it.

Anonymous said...

IMO the intial post is lacking of so much credible information I see it as nothing but an attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Obits are not a requirement and if the family preferred not to have one put in there then the newspaper would not have put it in there.

The sensationism in the title of this message is quite reminiscent of what many of you slam newspapers for in the first place.

Just another gleaming example of the hypocracy with so many of you.

McClatchy Watch said...

I don't think Glenn Garvin is talking about the standard, narrow obituary. Famillies pay for those. He means the longer articles about people who have just died that run on the obituary pages. The Sacramento Bee usually runs one or two of those a day.

Anonymous said...

Why does this surprise anybody ? Newspapers and other big corporations have not cared about or for their employees for years.

Anonymous said...

Re: “gleaming example of the hypocracy with so many of you.”
What is ‘hypocracy” anyway?
Edit: hypocrisy.
Another spelling conspiracy theory to explore, you can’t keep up with these ‘hypocrats’.

Anonymous said...

“I see it as nothing but an attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill.”

Making a mountain out of a molehill is the bread and butter of the corrupt MSM. They will take a little passing non-story and drumbeat/echo it for days to distract people from the real information they need to know. Thank goodness for the bloggers, they make the old media look like the anemic body, on life support, they have become. Pull the plug, death with dignity has some good aspects.

Anonymous said...

///Making a mountain out of a molehill is the bread and butter of the corrupt MSM.///

Pretty much like this blog.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers aren't journalists. They are grossly inexperienced wannabee writers who act as if they know everything while they cater to the right telling them what they want to hear.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers aren't journalists.

----------


Right! Because to be a journalist is such a tough title to obtain. Stringent qualifications those. Let's see if I can pass the test:


I am a journalist!


I am now a journalist.

Anonymous said...

11:56AM,

How well is that journalist job you've got paying?

Be truthful.

Anonymous said...

6:34 Stow the condescension. Newspapers invented this "classified obit" category a few years ago to milk a few bucks out of grieving families. They used to run Obits as news. Now they run strange disconnected obits as news as a way to motivate the locals to pay for an obit.
The result. One more reason for the public not to care when the paper folds. Its a good example of a declining industry making another dumbass decison.
By the way...no conspiracy theory here...just old fashioned stupidity theory. B-schools will study newspapers for a hundred years as willfully stupid industry which accelerated its own demise.

Anonymous said...

12:33, paid obits have been around for a long time -- much more than a few years, sorry. The obit is part of a funeral package 99% of the time and there is NO VALIDITY to your assertion of newspapers using news stories to lure families into paying for a Classified obit. What total BS.

The deaths that make it into a news story are a mixed bag -- people (famous or not) with interesting or unique life stories; people who represent the fabric of the community served by the newspaper in some special way; people who give the obit a compelling local angle; people who have some degree of celebrity and whose names are recognized; just plain folks who lived a good life and somehow the newspeaper hears of their death. Like (what a concept) someone sends a detailed email about the deceased to the obit writer!).

Anonymous said...

Long time, few years. blah blah blah. I am old enough to remember when newswpapers saw themselves as part of the community they serve.
And we saw the paper as an essential part of our life and community.
Today...not so much.

Anonymous said...

11:56AM,

How well is that journalist job you've got paying?



==========================
Rate of pay is not a qualifying factor to hold the title of journalist.

It never has been and never will be. The only qualification to be a journalist is to say you are. End of Subject.

Anonymous said...

It's up to the family and the funeral home to call in the obiturary. Unfortunately, it's not done by osmosis. I am sure, as we have at The Star, employees and retirees can get a sizable obituary FREE and that is with a picture.