Monday, September 11, 2006

The Herald's evolving ethical standards

Friday's Herald featured an article by Oscar Corral about South Florida journalists that were on the government payroll as well. The journalists in question were moonlighting for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting that is responsible for Radio Marti and TV Marti. The two media outlets are intended to transmit uncensored information to Cuba where there is no legal independent media. Neither outlet is transmitted in the U.S. however live feeds can be heard/seen on the organization's web site.

Corral consulted experts in journalistic ethics who explain why working for a government agency is a taboo for journalists.

Journalism ethics experts called the payments a fundamental conflict of interest. Such violations undermine the credibility of reporters to objectively cover key issues affecting U.S. policy toward Cuba, they said.
Among the various journalists and commentators mentioned in the piece were three associated with El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish language newspaper that is the sister paper of The Miami Herald. Two of these journalists were employees who were fired after Corral's investigation. The third was a freelancer named Olga Connor. The Herald has ended its relationship with Connor as well because of the story.

Setting aside my personal feelings about whether there was truly a conflict of interest among these journalists, there appears to be something fishy going on here.

A fellow blogger discovered that 4 years ago the Herald published an article by Elaine De Valle about Radio Marti's (then) new president Salvador Lew and how he was hiring many of his friends to work with him. One of the friends mentioned in the piece was none other than Olga Connor.
Olga Connor, a columnist at El Nuevo Herald who hosts an arts program on Radio Martí, is a friend [of Lew's].
Not only that, Ms. De Valle even reported that Connor was being paid "$440 a show" for her twice-weekly radio show.

At the time, it seems, The Herald had no problem with Connor's activities on Radio Marti because she continued to work for Radio Marti and El Nuevo Herald ever since.

So one has to ask oneself whether The Herald didn't realize that Connor's employment by Radio Marti posed a "conflict of interest" back in March of 2002 (which they should have if the violation was so egregious) or if there is some other reason that the paper decided to take action against Connor and her Radio Marti colleagues now?


Enrique said...

fidel castro will not get away with The ideas Battle....This war will be won by those who want to see cuba free at last..

Do you have any idea, how many millions of dollars is spent annually by castro to missinformed the international public opinion. fidel castro has under his payroll, politicias, journalists, radio personalities, all over the world. Their only aim is to spread the propaganda rethoric that we are so used to for 47 years.

lets start an investigation in this matter, to find out how much the cuban goverment spend in this technology warfare and on the internet. 44k cuban children work in the informatic and computer department creating viruses and opening daily blogs praising the revolution...

it is time to unmasked the journalists here in the US that are under Castros payroll..

and for them I Call for their resignation to salvage the journalistic reputation..

Do you hear me well Corral?

Posted by: Enrique | September 11, 2006 at 10:17 AM

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Enrique, as always, is correct! It's a pity the Herald feels they must defend Castro. I would not use this paper for anything more sophisticated that lining the kitty litter.

Tomas Estrada-Palma