Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Heralds' Counter offensive

It seems that the MHMC is trying to arrest plummeting circulation figures by wooing back the Cuban-American population. As I noted here, the recent coverage the Heralds are calling The Cuba Puzzle appears to be part of that counter offensive.

And tonight the big guns came out to be interviewed on A Mano Limpia, a local Spanish prime time TV show that covers Cuba almost exclusively. Present for El Nuevo Herald was Editor Humberto Castelló and for The Miami Herald was the Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal.

A wide variety of topics were covered, including whether or not MHMC would be attempting to open a bureau in Cuba. Gyllenhaal asserted that when "he dies" there would be interest but that under the current circumstances, foreign media bureaus are "controlled". Castelló recounted the fact that 3 foreign journalists were recently expelled from Cuba.

Then Oscar Haza put Gyllenhaal in the uncomfortable position of having to defend columnist Ana Menendez' vitriolic attacks on the exile community in Miami. Gyllenhaal attempted to justify her comments by saying she only used the words "Miami Mafia" for effect to make a deeper point but that readers focused on those words and the greater point was lost.

When asked about the state of relations between the two newsrooms, Castelló affirmed that the relief should be evident in his face. That Gyllenhaal has breathed a new life into the relationship and that he arrived with new ideas and good will. What went unsaid was that those new ideas and good will were not present in the previous Executive Editor, Tom Fiedler.

Also covered on the show was the issue of important stories that are covered by one paper and not by the other (or covered days later). Gyllenhaal said that in the past the two papers were not communicating as well as they should have in many cases and chalked the other cases up to logistical problems.

Overall I got the impression that Gyllenhaal wanted to come out and demonstrate that there's a new sheriff in town and that he knows where the problems are. Hopefully, that will be the case, but I think he's still in denial about the Herald's columnists and how their constant belittling of Cubans is affecting the papers' readership.

4 comments:

asombra said...

I have a message for Gyllenhaal that should be totally unnecessary, since it couldn't be more obvious: as a Cuban-American, I will not accept, let alone buy, any newspaper that allows any of its writers to repeatedly and consistently offend me. It's really very simple. If you want my money, you'd better respect me. Either the Herald is stupidly clueless, or it's more motivated by anti-exile sentiment than common business sense.

C.L. Jahn said...

The Herald's declining readership has less to do with its attitudes towards the Cuban Exile Community and more to do with the evaporating news content.

Ana's recent commentary reflects attitudes found throughout Miami's non-Cuban community. And while screaming hysteria apparently works at Fox News, I think it would be more appropriate to simply prove your case than to crucify those who disagree with you.

Newspapers are supposed to publish numerous viewpoints; demanding that the Herald ONLY print one set of propaganda is to do the same thing Chavez and yes, Castro, have done to their newspapers.

The truth not only can stand up to contradictory viewpoints, it is tempered by them and made stronger. Ana isn't hurting your position as much as you think. She giving you the opportunity to show that she's wrong - if you can.

Henry Gomez said...

Sir with all due respect, I never asked for propaganda. As for screaming hysteria, I don't see any around here. You said it yourself, numerous viewpoints. Where's the Cuban exile viewpoint? I don't see it anywhere in the Herald on a conistent basis. I see Cubans that, like you say, may have a non-Cuban viewpoint, but nobody opposing them.

As detractors of the exile community usually do, you accuse us of being the same as what we despise. No we don't want to shut people up, we want equal time, we want the truth to be told, we don't want agendas other than that.

Don't like that? Too bad. We're not going anywhere. Thanks for your continued readership.

Anonymous said...

It is impossible to read The Herald anymore on Latin America not because it pushes the Cuban American line but because the Cuban American line is a viewpoint of one member of the elite and not anywhere near an objective analysis necessary to understand what is going on the continent and how to deal with it. Thanks for destroying the truth. This kind of thinking is sure helping those who oppose Chavez operate effectively. And it is the kind of rigid "neo-conservative Leo Strauss make no compromises" influenced thinking that made Iraq a mess, and Zimbabwe turn out the way it did for whites. It is actually much closer to Marxism than you realize, however until you accept that you will be living in exile.