Letters from the Issue of July 7, 2005

Heavy-handed cops, heavy-hearted drag queens, heavy-walleted hip-hoppers

The only thing in "bad taste" is the fact that a bunch of awfully incompetent student writers at The Beacon (which I like to call "The Bacon"), who incidentally do not know adjectives from nouns, probably get less money when the J-school funds something as reprehensible as FusedOnline, where some real writing might happen. In the end, all of this is about money again -- the root of all bad taste -- and FIU's continuing tighten-the-screws, MBA School of Bidness (whose students' average grammar scores are consistently dismal) administrative attitude toward its own faculty. Ask any English professor, who will no doubt request anonymity. Apparently the effects of "no child left behind" have reached the university level. The strategy? Leave them all behind, so no one will know the difference. Then we can moralize about what they're writing. Journalism? Don't make me laugh. Want to be a journalist? Go online.

Ricky Smith

Dania Beach

FIU Is Preparation for the Real World

In print I found it: After graduating from FIU's School of Journalism in 1994, I spent several years working for daily newspapers, where I realized I was much better prepared than my peers because I had been taught by professors with actual newspaper experience. Many young reporters, I learned, had been taught by academicians who had never set foot in a newsroom. These reporters knew all about academic theory in journalism -- whatever that means -- but they had no clue how to write a story on a tight deadline and make it sing.

Now I realize my professors had taught me a craft that has become obsolete. In today's newsrooms, it is no longer acceptable to be a government watchdog. It is no longer acceptable to write hard-hitting stories that might anger a few corporate bigwigs. "The wall" that has traditionally separated the newsroom from the advertising department, ensuring unbiased and uninfluenced journalism, has been demolished.

Thanks to the hundreds of corporate mergers over the past decade, most newspapers are owned by a handful of companies that prioritize stockholders' profits over true journalism. So if FIU's School of Journalism is now censoring stories, it is only preparing its students for the real world.

H.C. Miller

Miami

FIU Protects First Amendment

Teaching, speaking, being: I am proud to say Kevin Hall's guidance twenty years ago at FIU's fledgling journalism school was the finest point of my college career. It was not a secret back then to students that there was animosity between the professors and the administration. Nevertheless, Professor Hall and several others encouraged us to become credible, creative, professional journalists with a lust for the craft.

Now, twenty years later, in my fifteenth year teaching journalism and English to high school students in Miami-Dade County, not a day goes by that I haven't envisioned Professor Hall teaching us about integrity and passion for writing. To him I give my highest praise for standing up for journalistic ethics, unswayed by politics or policy. By God, we sure could use more of that.

To FIU administration: The First Amendment doesn't end at the schoolhouse doors.

Lisa Grebin Borden

Dania

Art Scenesters Bite Back Personally

A post from the Peach State: I love what you guys printed about me. It's truly sad that a city growing as rapidly as Miami needs to turn to my personal life for content. You guys are doing a great job with your new format as a gossip paper. I will be sure to keep you posted on my ever-changing fast life, that is if my ego doesn't get in the way first. Which, according to Karen Genetta (who by the way was never a "gallery collaborator," and has proved she was not a "friend" either), it probably will.

Now just so I can defend myself here. Objex Artspace did not close because of my ego; I decided to take a hiatus and regroup for a few months over the summer. My workload became very heavy, since I was the only person running and maintaining the space as well as paying for it each month. I decided it would be best to take a step back and re-evaluate my business plans as well as my workload.

I am not in rehab; I am visiting my mother in Georgia. I am still planning on continuing with Objex, and when I am ready, I will do so. Until then, you guys keep on printing what you're told, even if the source is obviously strung out, and continue with the new format. You guys are totally supportive and really know how to kick someone when they're down. All my best from the forests of Georgia.

Dustin Orlando

Miami

Give Carlos Alvarez Respect and a Scepter

A strong mayor is much needed: The article by Brett Sokol "Double Speak" (June 16) is very critical of Carlos Alvarez and insulting to the thousands of people who signed the petition for a change in government. Mayor Alvarez has not been able to do more, given that his power is limited. He needs to have the authority to hire and fire department directors in order to properly guide this county to its destined grandeur. We cannot be in the hands of a commission that is elected by districts; the mayor is the only person elected countywide and has to respond to all segments of this community, not only commissioners. Mayor Alvarez is leading a fight against special interests and cronyism that deserves our respect and support. Mr. Sokol apparently prefers our county to continue on its path of destruction. Just look at all the scandals we have had lately: MIA, Jackson, Water and Sewer, Transit, and so on and so on. For someone to be able to correct these issues, he needs the authority. And yes, Mr. Sokol, Mayor Alvarez is that person -- hundreds of thousands of our voters said so this past November, and the voters also deserve the respect you have failed to give them.

Alfredo Hidalgo-Gato

Miami

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