Miami Herald Political Writer Marc Caputo Leaving for Politico

Categories: Media Watch

via YouTube
David Rivera didn't want to talk. The embattled ex-congressman had walked into a Miami clerk's office to file paperwork for a comeback bid expecting a quick photo op and a few softball questions from a Spanish-language TV crew. Instead, he found Marc Caputo and his handheld camera.

The beautifully awkward six-minute clip that resulted -- with Caputo hounding Rivera about the ongoing federal probe he'd broken and Rivera repeatedly muttering, "Email me" -- is a perfect example of the tenacity, humor, and shoe-leather reporting the political writer has brought to the Miami Herald for the past 12 years.

Caputo announced this morning he's moving on. Luckily for Florida voters, he's staying put in the Magic City and joining the growing staff of Politico.

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Local Business Owner Publishes Book on Extraterrestrials

Categories: Media Watch

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Photo by CK-12 Foundation via Wikimedia Commons
In his day job, Eli Nazario owns a Miami demolition company that grossed almost $1 million in 2014. But Nazario, a Brooklyn native who transplanted to South Florida around ten years ago, also has another longstanding occupation -- extraterrestrial fanatic. And now he has self-published a book, Pillars of Fire, based on both exhaustive scholarship and what he says are real experiences.

"I think we're definitely not alone," Nazario says, "based on the research and evidence that I've been able to capture."

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TV Martí Blew Its Coverage of Historic U.S.-Cuba Moment

Categories: Media Watch

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Photo by bbg.gov via Wikimedia Commons
TV Martí was supposed to be made for days like Wednesday, December 17. After all, the U.S. government has spent more than a half-billion dollars on Martí over the years, all to beam American news into the heart of Cuba.

Yet when the biggest Cuban-American story in a half-century broke -- Barack Obama and Raúl Castro's announcement that they'd move to normalize diplomatic relations -- the Miami-based network was caught in utter disarray, employees tell New Times, exposing the systemic disorganization and poor leadership that have blighted the network for years.

"What happened... was absolutely incredible," said one longtime Martí employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It just seemed like we were so completely unprepared."

See Also: Special Report: America's Cuba Ties Transformed

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Alicia Menendez: Fusion's Breakout Star

Categories: Media Watch

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Photo by Stian Roenning
If Alicia Menendez's show seems unconventional, perhaps it's because her path to the media was equally atypical.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

How can a news show stand out in the age of 24-hour-a-day screaming Nancy Graces and nonstop nonnews coverage? "If you are young, you know all of the news by the time you get home," Alicia Menendez says of her barely year-old show, AM Tonight. "So at 9 o'clock at night, my job isn't to tell you the news. It's to tell you why it matters."

The 31-year-old has become the breakout star of Fusion, the Doral-based cable news network joint gamble of Univision and ABC News to capture the increasingly diverse (and increasingly Hispanic) millennial audience by dropping the round-the-clock alarmism of competitors and, as Menendez puts it, presenting conversations that viewers might have with their friends.

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Dan and David Le Batard: Cultural Ambassadors

Categories: Media Watch

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Photo by Stian Roenning
Dan and David Le Batard never lose perspective on who they are and where they've come from.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

Lebo, the painter and cartoonist, stares out into the cloudless, azure sky through oversize shades, a Cheshire Cat grin creeping across his stubbled face. "I'm a pimp for myself," he declares after older brother Dan ribs him about the many corporate sponsors -- Google, Microsoft, Red Bull -- the artist has signed deals with. "Total sell-out prostitute!"

Everything you need to know about the Marx Brothers-like dynamic between sportswriter and radio host Dan Le Batard and his younger artist brother David, AKA Lebo, is found in a childhood photograph that shows Dan inexplicably wearing an eye patch and David wielding a stick. The image encapsulates the two goofballs who would grow up to change the cultural landscape of Miami through art and media.

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Matt Bai on Herald's Gary Hart Investigation: "It Was Shocking Then and ... It's Shocking Now"

Categories: Media Watch

Gary Hart's presidential campaign, which was torpedoed by a Miami Herald investigation, is the subject of Matt Bai's new book "All the Truth Is Out"
In 1987, the Miami Herald turned a presidential race on its head. A team of reporters, acting on a tip, staged an elaborate stake-out of Democratic frontrunner Gary Hart at his Washington townhouse. Their reporting led to an investigation alleging that Hart had been carrying on an affair with a Miami woman named Donna Rice; within weeks Hart resigned.

To Matt Bai, Yahoo News' national political correspondent, that moment wasn't just a seminal piece of local journalism lore. In his new book, All the Truth Is Out, Bai argues the Herald's piece marked the moment American political coverage made a hard turn away from substance and into 24-hour scandal mongering.

Riptide caught up with Bai before his appearance this weekend at the Miami Book Fair International to talk about the Herald's original story, how he cracked the case of who tipped the paper off 27 years ago and his hopes for political journalism in the future.

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Florida's Biggest Newspapers Have Come Out Against Medical Marijuana for Incredibly Stupid Reasons

Categories: Media Watch

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Photo by Laurie Avacado via Wikimedia Commons | CC 2.0
A somewhat surprising number of Florida's biggest and most influential newspapers have come out against medical marijuana. The Orlando Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times, and the Florida Times-Union are just a few.

None of those editorials actually bashes the idea of medical marijuana. They're cool with it, in theory. They just think that it should be an issue decided on by the Florida Legislature and that the amendment is too vague and will cause some sort of abuse. What kind of abuse? No one knows -- the editorials are being very vague about it.

This of course ignores two key points:
1. There is no way the Florida Legislature in its current Republican-controlled form will legalize medical marijuana (and this amendment failing will give it more reasons not to do so).
2. Floridians already smoke tons and tons and tons of marijuana.

See also: Medical Marijuana in Florida: What Amendment 2 Means to You

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South Miami Wants to Split Florida Into Two States, and The Entire Miami Media Missed It

Categories: Media Watch

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One of the most viral stories on the internet in the past 24 hours is the news that South Miami City Commission passed a resolution calling for the division of Florida into two separate states. It's not something that's going to happen, but, hey, it's fun to click on.

The story behind the story: the resolution was passed two weeks ago, and every single outlet that should be covering the city commission missed it.

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How Bickering South Florida Models Brought Down a Presidential Campaign

Categories: Media Watch

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Back in 1988, the Miami Herald published a story claiming that Colorado Senator and then Democratic presidential hopeful Gary Hart was having an affair with 29-year-old, Miami-based model Donna Rice. It ruined Hart's political career and presidential aspirations, and changed political reporting forever by affirming that a candidate's sex scandals were fair game for the press.

But the story of how exactly the story came to be has remained a mystery. Well, this weekend the New York Times finally exposed the tipster who had informed the Herald. Her name was Dana Weems, another former model and fashion designer.

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Who Is exMiami? PR Firm Denies It's Behind Mysterious Real Estate News Site

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Who is behind exMiami, a curious blog that details development around town? Well, no one seems to know, and, of course, any mystery in Miami must have some nefarious explanation. Right? Well, maybe, maybe not.

Yesterday, blogger Al Crespo alleged, with little evidence, that PR maven Tadd Schwartz of Schwartz Media Strategies, a company hired by many big-time developers, was behind the blog. But today, Schwartz was quick to issue a denial.

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