Good-bye Tommy

During his 33-year career at the Miami Herald, Tom Fiedler won the Pulitzer Prize for covering an extremist group in Liberty City, took down presidential hopeful Gary Hart, and pissed off Miami's Cuban-American community.

On Friday, the McClatchy Co. — the Herald's parent owner — announced Fiedler's replacement: Anders Gyllenhaal, editor and senior vice president of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Fiedler, who is 60, will retire in February. He will serve as editor-at-large during the transition, according to a story posted on the paper's website.

'It has been an honor for me to have led The Miami Herald newsroom and to have been a journalist here,'' Fiedler was quoted as saying. ''The contributions I have made are few in comparison to the friendships I have treasured and the lessons I have learned.''

Fiedler certainly has learned many lessons over the past few years at the helm. Current and former journalists at the paper thought that Fiedler was a great guy and an excellent reporter — but not cut out for management.

It didn't help that Fiedler's reign came during a tumultuous time: a former city commissioner killed himself in the paper's building (Arthur Teele), a top columnist was fired (Jim DeFede) and the paper skirmished with its Spanish-language sister publication (El Nuevo Herald and the TV/Radio Marti scandal).

But in recent years, he got into hot water with the city's Cuban-Americans. When Publisher Jesus Diaz resigned in October, Fiedler dismissed the notion that the paper was caving into critics. He said that the ''22 people who listen to Cuban radio'' were being stirred up by ''little Chihuahuas nipping at our heels.'' He later apologized for his word choice.

Gyllenhaal is no stranger to Miami nor its quirks: he was a reporter and editor at the paper for 12 years. After he left Miami, he headed the Raleigh, (N.C.) News and Observer and then the Star-Tribune.

Said Keith Moyers, publisher of the Star-Tribune, in a memo to that paper's staff: "As we all know, these are some of the most challenging times ever for newspapers, and no one is more up to the challenge than Anders. He is positive, determined, passionate and committed to the highest ideals of journalism."

Gyellenhaal was quoted on today's Herald website as saying that he was excited about returning to his journalism roots.

''It's a true privilege to come back to The Miami Herald, an exceptional newspaper in the most interesting part of the country,'' Gyllenhaal told the paper.

Tamara Lush

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse