Letters from the Issue of June 16 , 2005

Journalists as zombies, best this, best that, best worst pick ever

Yes, Master, Your Every Wish Is Our Command

Spoken like a true journalism student: Thanks for running Edmund Newton's article on the disagreements over teaching journalism ("Newsroom or Classroom?" June 9). Both sides of the argument are taking place in the same box. I think we all know by now that the news, analysis, and opinion of major dailies and their frustrated imitators have an "advertising" element. Sometimes a newspaper's eagerness to profit by serving the "market needs of the community" (as determined by the special interests of its power elite) blurs the distinction between news and advertising, or between general truth and prejudiced propaganda.

The obsession with credentials -- the requirement that a journalist have a degree in journalism and his tenured professor a doctorate -- reflects the degree of obedience to norms established by corporate interests. A school of journalism is a corporate business tool that machines journalists to certain specifications. A doctorate is required for tenure to ensure that those who preside over the machining process are fully indoctrinated, as evidenced by the highest degree of obedience to the institutional norms.

It would behoove the alternative press to avoid hiring graduates of journalism schools and turn instead to good thinkers and writers regardless of their credentials, then train them on the job. When they start behaving like professional journalists, they should be fired.

David Arthur Walters

Miami Beach

Best Unsung Engineers

We're not upset -- really: This is to thank you for awarding Best Public-Works Project to the Bicentennial Park seawall ("Best of Miami," May 12). The project is indeed a ten-million-dollar "first sign of real progress toward a future bayfront walkway for downtown Miami." Our firm, Edwards and Kelcey, is the engineer-of-record for the "under budget and ahead of schedule" project. We are very proud of this fact, even if we weren't mentioned in the award.

Mr. Esen Tokay in our Miami office is the project manager. He would be pleased to provide additional facts and information.

Thank you for your coverage of this unusual project.

Charles Ballinger Edwards and Kelcey

Morristown, New Jersey

Best Antidote to Hip-Hop

I don't work at the station -- really: I must disagree with the editors' "Best of Miami" choice for Best Radio Station: 99 Jamz (WEDR-FM 99.1). It's true that 99 Jamz and The Beat (WMIB-FM 103.5) have young fans, but being the best means quality not quantity, and neither station plays the best-quality music in Miami. In fact the overwhelming profanity and violence in many of the "songs" on their playlists should take hip-hop out of the category of "best music" altogether.

This brings me to the readers' choice, WLRN-FM (91.3). The station's managers know they should have switched to 24-hour classical music immediately after the demise of WTMI-FM. Talk shows serve a purpose for AM radio, but the lack of classical public radio means a lack of culture in an international city like Miami. It's a shame.

On the other hand, a new "best-kept secret" on the AM dial has crept up in the ratings to number eleven among Miami AM stations and number twelve overall in Palm Beach: WJNA-AM 640. (Their signal covers only half of Miami-Dade.) Their playlist is always changing, but it always features good music everyone can enjoy. I don't work there, but I think they deserve mention as the underdog of South Florida radio, and if your staff and readers want to hear quality songs, raise the antenna and give 640 AM a try.

Chuck Meads

Miami Beach

Editor's note: WLRN-FM has announced its intention to launch a 24-hour classical-music station that will broadcast in a digital format. A digital receiver will be required to hear the station, which will use the same 91.3 frequency and which is expected to begin operating sometime this summer.

Best Self-Serving Screed

I'm the King of Rock and you're totally lame: So the winner you picked for Best New Music Trend is dance rock? As the DJ responsible for putting South Beach nightlife on the map from 1991 through 1994 by being the opening-night and resident DJ at the Spot, Rebar, Sinatra Bar, Union Bar, Whisky, and Mickey's, with my style of mixing rock and roll with hip-hop, which I created more than twenty years ago, I have to say that once again your mag has either no memory or just hasn't a clue to what's really going on in the rest of the world -- let alone right in your back yard.

And why keep referring to DJ Mark Leventhal like he is some kind of great DJ when he actually couldn't get arrested back in the day when DJs like George Acosta and myself were running this town, and couldn't find work till we left to go on tour to bigger and better things.

Well, now I'm back as the musical director and resident DJ and soundman for the reopening of the Marlin (to be called Rex), and I'm here to serve notice to all of these so-called rock-star DJs out there who've sat on their fat asses over the past ten years and let this town go from the hottest cutting-edge music spot to boringly predictable sets straight off the MTV top-ten countdown -- I'm here to serve notice that the King of Rock is back and you'd better get your game on or get the hell out of the way and just stick to the wedding and bar mitzvah gigs. To find out more just check me out at Rokbar on Saturdays, Buck 15 on Mondays, and Automatic Slims on Tuesdays. You can get all the info at www.deejayu.com.

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