Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pablo Alfonso's Resignation Letter

Pablo Alfonso was one of the El Nuevo Herald employees that was fired and then re-hired in the Martí Moonlighters affair. After Clark Hoyt's review of the matter was published on Sunday Alfonso resigned. His resignation letter was published on the web site of Diario las Americas.

I have translated the letter which you can find below.

Resignation Letter
The Value of Words

This past 8th of October, when I was reinstated as a journalist for El Nuevo Herald, after my abrupt dismissal caused by an article published in The Miami Herald a month earlier under the title “10 Miami Journalists take U.S. pay", I wrote the following:

"The Miami Herald Media Company must have a big enough spirit to recognize in an editorial that the article written against us was "abominable, ugly and [journalistically] light", to recognize in black and white that, if the company accepts our return to work, it is not only because administrative norms and procedures were violated and management errors were committed, but that, in addition to that, we are professionals, with intact reputations and credibility. Otherwise the company would not have accepted our return.

That, which is admitted today in private, I want to be recognized publicly. It is not an issue of arrogance. It's just that our reputation was judged in the public light and must, for justice's sake, be clarified in the same context.

With that criteria in our mind, in the afternoon hours on Friday, the president and publisher of the Miami Herald Media Company, David Landsberg, received us in his office to talk about the subject. I attended with my colleague Wilfredo Cancio. Vanaver and Beatty were present for the conversation.

We accepted the commitment of these executives, their word of honor, that in the days to come those necessary explanations would be clearly established. They requested some weeks from us, a vote of confidence. That vote of confidence is granted."

I returned to work under that premise. Hoping that the words of promise would be fulfilled. After the publication of the report of Mr. Clark Hoyt and the introductory note written by Mr. David Landsberg, Publisher of The Miami Herald Company, Sunday November 19th, there is nothing else to hope for.

I do not have anything to dispute about Mr.Hoyt's report. Except perhaps some precise language that I did not find in it, as well as a missing evaluation of why information was leaked (and continues leaking) from the The Miami Herald's newsroom, special news reports that reach the hands of the Castroite press, before they reach the hands of the newspaper's readers.

Anyway the evaluations in his report about the unfortunate article that's at issue, are his findings and evaluations and do not have anything to do with what I asked the three executives of Miami Herald Media Company for, as a condition to return to my position.

Consequently I submitted my resignation to the management of The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald on Saturday night.

For those of us who practice the career of journalist words are elementary tools of our work. Perhaps because of “professional deformation” sometimes we become accustomed to using them under those conditions. Nevertheless, words have an intrinsic value in and of themselves. That value is even more important when they are used to make a commitment, as a personal guarantee. I gave credit to my words and stand by them now.

Thanks to the colleagues and readers who have had the patience to read the ones I have written in this newspaper throughout the years.

Pablo Alfonso,
Miami, November 19, 2006.

1 comment:

heraldphobe said...

As far as I can find, there has been nothing about Alfonso's resignation in Nuevo Herald, which seems extremely odd. If they were going to cover it, they surely would have done it by now. Why haven't they?

The story made the front page of Diario Las Americas, which also published his letter of resignation, but he was working for Nuevo Herald, and his resignation was certainly newsworthy.

This raises the possibility that Nuevo Herald may be under pressure from above to evade the matter, since it's clear that Alfonso resigned because he felt David Landsberg failed to keep his promise (or at least what Alfonso understood to be his promise) of a proper rectification by the Herald.

This looks fishy for sure.