Free Gambling

A casino theft ring at Gulfstream spooks the Sun-Sentinel

Although some Sentinel reporters believe the decision to spike the story was directly tied to advertising, others say it was based on concerns about the use of unnamed sources and worries that it could harm the gambling industry.

Whatever the reason, the decision doesn't bode well for journalism in Broward County. The newspaper's circulation has been in steady decline. At the same time, it is undergoing what management called "transformative change," which entails a blending of the newsroom with the Sentinel's marketing and advertising departments. For good reason, news reporting has traditionally been kept strictly separate from the interests of advertisers.

The (mis)handling fate of the Gulfstream story might be a sign that not only is the newspaper bridging departments, but also its hunt for revenues in an increasingly grim industry has overtaken its already tepid journalistic mission — which would be far worse than whatever happened on the slots floor of a local casino.

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