Columns

Chuck Rules, Bill Bites

Today Bill Cooke at Random Pixels took a shot at New Times and editorial jefe Chuck Strouse. He wrote:

I used to love Miami New Times. When I lived in Coconut Grove I knew where the paper was delivered on Wednesday and usually snagged a copy by early afternoon.

Since editor Jim Mullin's departure a few years ago, the paper has taken a turn for the worse. Just about all the good writers have left and the paper itself is an anemic, slimmed-down version of what it was years ago...In short, Chuck has done it all.

He's forgotten more about journalism than I'll ever know.

I was gonna let this one slide, but Bill didn't do

any research before posting his item like he usually does when he is knocking the Miami Herald. Granted I cringed at Chuck's post today, which is what Bill was ranting about. My boss

makes me cringe everyday. But Bill wants to correlate Chuck's throwaway,

pithy blog item with what Chuck gets from his writers.

Ever

since Jim Defede left, and the subsequent departure of long-time editor Jim

Mullin, I hear all sort of people bemoan that New Times is not what it

used to be. I say garbage. It may not be the same bylines, but the

edgy, gritty muck-raking spirit is still alive and kicking ass.

Obviously Bill hasn't bothered to read the great work that the

most recent additions to the paper have brought to the fore.

Obviously he hasn't read Natalie O'Neill's squatter story that everyone else in

town and CNN followed.

Obviously he hasn't read Gus

Garcia-Robert's excellent cover story about six Carol City high kids

who were killed months before their graduation and the deep emotional

scars their surviving friends, teachers, and family members have to

live with. It is a story that really captures the violent reality in

Miami-Dade's most dangerous zip code for teenagers.

Obviously Bill didn't read Tim Elfrink's recent piece on the closing of the Gitmo

prison camp, another yarn depicting what alternative newspapers do

best: tell a story with context and perspective.

And don't get me

started on the calendar, music, art, and food sections because no

one in town comes close there.

You don't have to take my word for it.

Just check with the Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida

Press Association to find out about all the first place awards Miami

New Times staffers have won under Chuck's tenure.

Or maybe you want to

ask Lee Klein what it feels like to be a finalist for the International

Association of Culinary Professionals Bert Greene Awards. Better yet

talk to our web editor Jose Duran so he can tell you how our Internet

traffic has doubled since he started last year.

Sure, New Times has had

a lot of turnover in recent years, but in spite of that, Chuck has done

a fantastic job of getting his reporters to write award winning

important, relevant work, stories that everyone else follows and

get into the real Miami-Dade County.

By smearing Chuck, Bill smears the excellent job the

staff he assembled is doing. But then again, when you get the haters talking about you, then you know you're doing something right.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.