Thursday, July 28, 2005

An open letter to Miami Herald Publisher Jesus Diaz and Executive Editor Tom Fiedler

July 28th, 2005

We are writing as journalists to express our sadness, distress and disappointment at the way the newspaper has treated Jim DeFede. He has been an important face of the newspaper in a community that has embraced him. Jim represents the finest journalism values: inquisitiveness, commitment to community, and determination to hold figures in power accountable for their actions. We believe firing him was an overreaction to an offense that should be viewed in the context of an intense, immediate episode during which he had little time to consider his actions.

Further, we are concerned that Jim’s willingness in the past to offend powerful figures in Miami and, at times, his own employers, may have contributed to the hasty decision to fire him. We believe that Jim’s determination to be a voice for the poor and powerless in Miami makes him an asset to the community and to The Herald, even if his words may at times make some people uncomfortable.

Jim’s actions may not even have been a technical violation of the law upon closer examination, and whether or not it was an ethical violation is questionable, given the extreme circumstances. But in any case he came forward on his own and has admitted his mistake. The Herald should do likewise and take him back.

Signed,

1. Peter Wallsten
Los Angeles Times (Miami Herald alum)

2. Charlie Savage
Boston Globe (Miami Herald alum)

3. Daniel de Vise
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

4. Derek Willis
Washington Post

5. Anne Bartlett
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

6. Robert Meyerowitz, Editor
Anchorage Press

7. Karen Branch-Brioso
(Miami Herald alum)

8. Corey Friedman
New Bern (N.C.) Sun Journal

9. Kevin Vaughan
Rocky Mountain News

10. Tom Grubisich
Santa Monica
screenwriter, ex-Washington Post reporter/editor

11. Todd Hartman
Rocky Mountain News (Miami Herald alum)

12. Tom Hamburger
Los Angeles Times

13. Joseph Tanfani
Philadelphia Inquirer (Miami Herald alum)

14. Johnny Diaz
Boston Globe (Miami Herald alum)

15. Gilbert B. Dunkley
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

16. Tristram Korten
Miami New Times

17. Elinor J. Brecher
Miami Herald

18. Joe Modzelewski
Miami Herald copy editor

19. Edmund Newton
New Times Broward Palm Beach

20. Benjamin Weyl
Los Angeles Times

21. A.L. Bardach
Director, The Media Project
Center for Film, TV, & New Media
Univ. of California Santa Barbara

22. Kathleen Cooper
(Tacoma, WA) News Tribune (Miami Herald alum)

23. Jim Camden
(Spokane, WA) Spokesman-Review

24. Kevin Graman
Spokesman-Review

25. Gwen Florio
Rocky Mountain News
(Knight-Ridder alum)

26. John Mecklin
SF Weekly editor

27. Dan Mitchell
Freelancer

28. Ben Eason
Creative Loafing president and CEO

29. Dave Barry
Miami Herald columnist on hiatus

30. Frances Robles
Miami Herald

31. Michelle Kaufman
Miami Herald sportswriter

32. Steven Dudley
Miami Herald Bureau Chief of the Andean Region

33. Ronnie Greene
Miami Herald

34. Linda Robertson
Miami Herald

35. Andres Viglucci
Miami Herald

36. Craig Stanke
CBS SportsLine (Miami Herald alum)

37. Nancy Klingener
Key West Citizen (Miami Herald alum)

38. Gene Weingarten
Washington Post columnist (Miami Herald alum)

39. Oscar Díaz López
Rumbo News Editor (El Nuevo Herald alum)

40. Mike Hendricks
Kansas City Star columnist

41. Nicholas Spangler
Miami Herald

42. Jordan Levin
Miami Herald

43. Lance Williams
San Francisco Chronicle

44. Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Miami Herald

45. Allison Klein
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

46. Patrick Ogle
Miami Herald

47. Diedtra Henderson
Boston Globe (Miami Herald alum)

48. Leslie Plesser
Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Miami Herald alum)

49. Judi Smith
Miami Herald assistant to Dave Barry

50. Geoff Dougherty
Chicago Tribune (Miami Herald alum)

51. Alejandro Armengol
El Nuevo Herald

52. Charles Jaco
KTVI-TV St. Louis (ex-CNN Miami)

53. Rui Ferreira
El Nuevo Herald

54. Jack Cheevers
(Los Angeles Times, New Times Los Angeles, and SF Weekly
alum)

55. Jennifer Santiago
CBS4/UPN 33 Miami Anchor/Reporter (Miami Herald freelance writer)

56. Penny McCrea
Miami Herald

57. Joel Elliott
The Seattle Times/Blethen Maine Newspapers

58. Kathryn W. Thompson
(NewsPress of Stillwater, Oklahoma, alum)

59. Bill Cooke
Miami Beach
Freelance photojournalist

60. John Parkhurst
Miami Herald

61. Lesley Clark
Miami Herald

62. Bill Coppinger
Miami Herald

63. Tracey Kaplan
San Jose Mercury News staff writer

64. Wendy Contos
Metro Copy Desk
Philadelphia Inquirer

65. Rob Wieman
(Tacoma, Wash.) News Tribune (Miami Herald alum)

66. David Villano
Miami-based freelancer

67. Bob Norman
New Times Broward*Palm Beach

68. Cary Darling
Star-Telegram (Miami Herald alum)

69. Sabrina L. Miller
Freelancer (Miami Herald alum)

70. Andrea Robinson
Miami Herald

71. Matthew Eandi
Student
University of Miami
School of Communication

72. Jared Lazarus
Miami Herald photographer

73. David Neal
Miami Herald

74. Ann O'Neill
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

75. Gaspar Gonzalez
Boca Raton Magazine managing editor (former associate editor, Street Weekly)

76. Mike Baxter
Retired Miami Herald deputy managing editor

77. Jere Warren
Miami Herald, retired

78. Emilio Yahni
Semanario Latinoamericano
ARGENTINA HOY

79. Robertson G. Adams
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami Herald alum)

80. Glenn Albin
Ocean Drive Magazine Editor in Chief

81. Beth Dunlop
Miami-based freelancer (Miami Herald alum)

82. Donna Pazdera
University of Texas-Pan American journalism instructor (Sun-Sentinel alum)

83. James McNair
Cincinnati Enquirer (Miami Herald alum)

84. Anne Tschida
Writer (Miami New Times alum)

85. Lilly Echeverria
Miami Herald Staff Photographer

86. Andrea Elliott
New York Times (Miami Herald alum)

87. Dan Keating
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

88. Neil Plakcy
Hollywood-based freelancer

89. David Zeman
Detroit Free Press (Miami Herald alum)

90. Joe Shea
The American Reporter Editor-in-Chief

91. Mark Sell
Miami Herald alum (assistant business editor, 1984-87)

92. Brant Long
Coral Gables Gazette Sports Editor

93. Jason Zappe
Des Moines Register (Miami Herald alum)

94. John Marvel
ESPN New Media Vice President/Editor-at-Large

95. Mary K. Sullivan
Dr. Michael Krop High newspaper adviser

96. Hal Habib
Palm Beach Post (Miami Herald alum)

97. Franklin Einspruch
Artblog.net (Miami New Times contributor, Street Weekly alum)

98. Adrian Walker
Boston Globe metro columnist

99. David Ovalle
Miami Herald

100. Sara Olkon
Miami Herald

101. Thomas Croom
PEER Review Blog

102. Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald

103. Humberto Guida
Ocean Drive Magazine (Miami New Times alum & Miami Herald intern/alum)

104. Mandy Bolen
Key West Citizen

105. Cara Buckley
The Miami Herald

106. Kent D. Johnson
Photo Assignment editor
Atlanta Journal Constitution

107. Jenny Staletovich
freelancer
Miami

108. Michel Dupagne
Associate Professor
School of Communication
University of Miami

109. Ron B Wilson
Freelance Photojournalist
Miami

110. Louis Trager
Miami Herald alum

111. Desonta Holder
Assistant Health Editor
Miami Herald

112. Nicole White
Miami Herald

113. Noah Bierman
Miami Herald

114. Paul Schreiber
Newsday, retired (Miami Herald alum)

115. Tom Tuell, Editor
Key West Citizen (Knight-Ridder alum)

116. Wyatt Olson, Writer
New Times-Broward Palm Beach

117. Dianne Lamb
journalism teacher and
chair, English/Journalism Department, Broward Community College, South Campus

118. Jeannette Rivera-Lyles
The Herald, Broward bureau

119. Scott L. Price
Sports Illustrated (Miami Herald alum)

120. Mark Vierthaler
Dodge City Daily Globe

121. Mary Damiano
Freelance journalist based in South Florida

122. Eliseo Cardona
El Sentinel - The Sun-Sentinel (El Nuevo Herald alum)

123. Mary Murray
NBC News

124. Arnold Markowitz
Miami Herald alum

125. Wanda J. DeMarzo
Miami Herald

126. Marcia Chambers
New York Times alum

127. Griff Witte
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

128. Eileen Soler
Freelance writer/photographer

129. Lisa Cilli
WFOR-CBS4 Producer

130. Marjie Lambert
Miami Herald

131. Peggy Rogers
Freelancer (Miami Herald alum)

132. Eli Lopez
Miami Herald

133. Monika Leal
Miami Herald research editor

134. Susan Harrigan
Newsday (Miami Herald alum)

135. Eric Torbenson
Dallas Morning News

136. Joanne Rice Coltrain
WLVE Radio Miami (former news director)

137. Edmundo Garcia
Univision 23-Miami

138. Glenn Henderson
Palm Beach Post (Miami Herald alum)

139. Milt Priggee
political cartoonist

140. Joe Ruiz
University Star managing editor
Texas State University-San Marcos

141. Connie Ogle
Miami Herald book editor

142. Omar Sommereyns
Miami Sun Post (Street Miami alum)

143. Howard Cohen
Miami Herald

144. Fiorella R. Sarmiento
Miami Herald

145. Nikki Waller
Miami Herald

146. Peter Klein
CBS News 60 Minutes producer

147. Shaune' Hayes
Washington Post

148. Edie Gross
Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.

149. Alfredo Triff
Miami New Times

150. Lucy Morgan
Tallahassee Bureau Chief/Associate Editor
St. Petersburg Times

151. Chelsea Greenwood
Boca Raton magazine

152. Brian E. Crowley
Palm Beach Post

153. Jean Scheidnes
Style Reporter/Columnist
Austin American-Statesman

154. Larry Dorman
Miami Herald alum

155. Dan Webster
The Spokesman-Review

156. Joshuah Bearman
LA Weekly Editor

157. Saul Landau,Director Digital Media
College of Letters Arts and Social Sciences,
California State Polytechnic University , Pomona

158. Erika Bolstad
Miami Herald

159. Emma Trelles
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Miami Herald alum)

160. Rick Klein
Boston Globe

161. Mike Fowler, publisher
Naples Record & Honeoye Herald

162. Marie Speed
Boca Raton Magazine editor

163. Warren Vieth
Los Angeles Times

164. Jason Jeffers
Miami Herald

165. Audra D.S. Burch
Miami Herald

166. Mary Murray
NBC News

167. Rebecca Kennedy
former Miami New Times editorial assistant

168. Don Van Natta Jr.
New York Times (Miami Herald alum)

169. Leslie Casimir
New York Daily News (Miami Herald alum)

170. John Sugg
Creative Loafing/Weekly Planet Newspapers.
Miami Herald alum

171. Jim Savage
Miami Herald (retired)

172. Dan LeBatard
Miami Herald

173. Michael Kranish
Boston Globe (Miami Herald alum)

174. Mike Stocker
South Florida Sun-Sentinel photojournalist (Miami Herald alum)

175. Noelle Theard
Freelance photojournalist

176. Georgina Cárdenas Pruszynski
Herald.com News Producer

177. George Richards
Miami Herald sports dept.

178. Diana Moskovitz
Miami Herald

179. Monica Ingram
Florida Times-Union
(formerly at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

180. Fernando Gonzalez
JAZZIZ magazine, managing editor
(Miami Herald alum)

181. Carol Carter
Freelance writer
Blue Ridge, Georgia

182. Martin McReynolds
Herald alum 1982-2000

183. Jennifer Osorio
Former online editor/producer, Miami New Times and South Florida Sun-Sentinel

184. Andy Mead
Lexington Herald-Leader

185. Alvaro F. Fernandez, Editor
Progreso Weekly
Progreso Semanal

186. Candice T. Gulley
New Times Broward*Palm Beach editorial administrator

187. Brooke Binkowski
KNX-Los Angeles and former CNN (Atlanta) radio anchor

188. Neil Skene
Attorney, St. Petersburg Times alum
Tallahassee

189. Lori Horvitz (Orlando Sentinel alum)
journalism teacher
University School of Nova Southeastern University in Davie

190. Don Canaan (Swerdlow)
Formerly The American Israelite (Cincinnati) and NBC News, NY
The Villages, FL

191. Frank Davies
Miami Herald

192. Laura Lorek
Senior Writer
San Antonio Express News

193. Trevor Aaronson
New Times Broward-Palm Beach

194. Danny Westneat
Seattle Times columnist

195. Martin Dyckman
Associate Editor and Columnist
The St. Petersburg Times

196. Jake Bernstein
The Texas Observer, Executive Editor
Former Miami New Times reporter

197. Mario Tarradell
The Dallas Morning News (Miami Herald alum)

198. Sanford J. Smoller
Pembroke Magazine contributing editor

199. Merry Sue Smoller
Freelancer Writer

200. Adrianne Burnikel
Freelance Photographer

201. Thomas Burnikel
Photographer

202. Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
Los Angeles, California

203. Robert Rivas
Tallahassee lawyer (Miami Herald alum)

204. Jim Morin
Miami Herald editorial cartoonist

205. Sam Eifling
New Times Broward-Palm Beach

206. Francisco Alvarado
Miami New Times

207. Anne Windishar
Spokesman-Review alum

208. Ryan Bakken, columnist
Grand Forks Herald

209. Joaquim Utset
El Nuevo Herald

210. Kris Conesa
Writer, Miami New Times

211. Jane Daugherty
Palm Beach Post (Miami Herald alum)

212. Forrest Norman
Miami New Times

213. Ron Hayes
Palm Beach Post

214. Stephen Lee
Grand Forks (ND) Herald

215. Cara DeGette
Colorado Springs Independent editor

216. Karen Herzog
State Journalism teacher, (1998)
journalism teacher

217. Kenn Finkel
Miami Herald alum

218. Steve Doig
Knight Chair in Journalism, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University
(Miami Herald alum)

219. Lisa Barr
Visiting Assistant Professor in Mass Communication Media Arts, specializing in
media law, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale
(and NPR alum)

220. Tomas Cabal
TV journalist, Panama

221. Tom Spalding,
Indianapolis Star

222. Maureen Magee
(reader of the Miami Herald and former editor of the Doral Estates Community Newsletter)

223. Mary Davis Fournier
Miami New Times alum

224. Louis Aguilar
Reporter
Detroit News

225. Robert Nolin
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

226. Alan Skolnick
Miami Herald

227. Anya McCoy
Freelance Journalist

228. Judy Battista
New York Times (Miami Herald alum)

229. Steve Rhodes
Freelance journalist

230. Teresa Simón-Noble
Freelance Writer

231. Tom Miller
Author and free-lancer in Tucson, Ariz.

232. Peter Benjaminson
Freelance writer
Knight Ridder Newspapers alum

233. Jeff Riggenbach
Former editorial writer at Oakland Tribune and former editorial writer and columnist for the Orange County Register

234. John Futch
Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram

235. Romann M. Weber
Miami Herald alum
Los Angeles, CA

236. Gregory Richards
Florida Times-Union

237. Michael Rabkin
New York Post (Miami Herald alum)

238. Jose Antonio Evora
El Nuevo Herald

239. Gina Carroll
Ink with Impact (Miami Herald and Bradenton Herald alum)

240. Lisa Simundson
Freelancer

241. Colleen Kelly
Minneapolis Star Tribune (Miami Herald alum)

242. Bill Vance
KR Washburo alum

243. Bonnie Britt
Book Editor
Former daily newspaper reporter

244. Joe Mozingo
Miami Herald

245. Tracy Fields
El Portal, FL-based wordsmith, radio host, teacher

246. Maya Bell
Orlando Sentinel Miami Bureau

247. Scott Hiaasen
Miami Herald

248. Rod Proctor
Palm Beach Post

249. Jorge Bravo
Miami Herald

250. Steve Satterwhite
Miami New Times and Street Miami alum

251. P. J. Corkery
San Francisco Examiner columnist

252. Mia Leonin
Miami New Times alum

253. Orlando Alomá
El Nuevo Herald/The Miami Herald (retired)

254. Will D. Jarrett
Former executive editor, Denver Post and Dallas Times Herald
Former ME, Philadelphia Inquirer
Founder and co-owner of Westward Communications (holding company of a group of 42 small newspapers in Southwest)
Former editor, Tropic Magazine

255. Lisa Arthur
Miami Herald

256. Ellis Berger
Former Miami News & Sun-Sentinel reporter

257. Brian C. Jones
Freelance contributor to the Providence Phoenix, former Providence Journal reporter

258. T.J. Quinn
New York Daily News

259. Alexis Urbani
El Mercurio, CHILE (retired)

260. Susannah Bryan
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

261. Sean Mussenden
Media General newspapers DC bureau (Orlando Sentinel alum)

262. Brian Wallstin
University of Missouri School of Journalism assistant professor

263. Scott Stephens
Cleveland Plain Dealer and Region 3 VP - The Newspaper Guild/CWA

264. Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Miami New Times assistant calendar editor

265. Diane Roberts
St. Petersburg Times columnist/former editorial writer
Commentator, NPR and BBC

266. David Honig
Executive Director, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council;
Chair, Communications Committee, and General Counsel, Miami-Dade Branch, NAACP (1989-1998).

267. Luiza Ch. Savage
Maclean's magazine

268. Cindy Seip
Miami Herald

269. Al Diaz
Miami Herald photojournalist

270. Carl Hiaasen
Miami Herald columnist

271. Maggie Steber
Freelance photographer (former Miami Herald assistant managing editor for photography and features)

272. Edward A. Carhart, Esquire
St. Petersburg Times alum and recipient of the Poynter Fund Scholarship

273. Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times (Knight Ridder alum)

274. Clea Benson
Sacramento Bee (Knight Ridder alum)

275. Ramón A. Mestre
Tele Miami
Columnist, El Nuevo Herald (Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald alum, 11 years)

276. Henry Lowenstein
Freelance writer and Blue Book Publications staff

277. Jason Cole
Miami Herald Dolphins beat writer

278. Omar Perez
Onetime Herald freelancer; Orlando Weekly freelancer

279. Jerry Capeci
GangLandNews.com and New York Sun

280. Mark Hedden
Key West Citizen columnist (Miami Herald alum-in-law)

281. Connie Knox
Baltimore Sun and Region 2 VP, The Newspaper Guild-CWA

282. Marc Fisher
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

283. Shari Rudavsky
Indianapolis Star (Miami Herald alum)

284. Joann Biondi
Freelancer (Miami Herald alum)

285. Glenda Wolin
San Antonio Express-News night metro editor (Miami Herald alum)
Glenda says: "I'm sure John would be signing it, too, if he were still with us."

286. Dave Hyde
Sun-Sentinel

287. Clark Spencer
Miami Herald

288. Mary Lou Smart
Naples, FL-based freelance writer

290. Ray Fisher
Miami Herald alumn (former picture editor)

291. Omero Ciai
La Repubblica (Italy) Latin American Correspondent

292. Andy Taylor
ex-Herald, ex-UPI

293. Elaine Sung
ESPN, Bristol, Conn. (Miami Herald alum)

294. Alan D. Mutter
Managing Partner - Tapit Partners
Former San Francisco Chronicle No. 2 editor/former Chicago Sun-Times city editor

295. Greg Cote
Miami Herald sports columnist

296. Barry Horn
Dallas Morning News (Miami Herald Alum)

297. John Lang
NBC 6 Miami photojournalist

298. George Diaz
Olando Sentinel Senior Sports Writer (Miami Herald Alum)

299. Edna Buchanan
Novelist, Pulitzer Prize winner, Miami Herald Alum

300. Draeger Martinez
Los Angeles Daily Journal (Miami Herald alum)

301. Juan Tamayo
Miami Herald

302. Maria Isabel Swann
Terra.com senior editor

303. Jennifer Babson
Miami Herald

304. Kirk Semple
New York Times
(former Miami New Times staff writer)

305. Sue Cocking
Miami Herald outdoors writer

306. Lynne Sladky
Miami-based Associated Press staff photographer

307. Gretchen Schmidt
Miami-based editor and freelancer (Former Tropic freelancer)

308. Sallie Hughes,
University of Miami School of Communication assistant professor

309. Tom Carter
Washington Times

310. Jorge Maltrain Macho
Journalist, Revista Triunfo (Chile)

311. Nancy San Martin
Miami Herald

312. Juan Carlos Vallejo
Producer and Host "Magazin of The World" Channel 15 Vermont
Author and lecturer member of National Writers Union

313. Anabelle de Gale
Miami Herald alum

314. Lynne Helm
Freelance travel writer

315. Drew Loftis
New York Post

316. Paula Schleis
reporter, Akron (OH) Beacon Journal

317. Steve Harelson
Former Journalist, Present Transportation Engineer

318. Dave Blezow
New York Post

319. Kathie Klarreich
Freelance Journalist

320. Lourdes Del Rio
Univision Network News

321. Bill Wisser
photographer, billwisserphoto.com
(Pittsburgh Press, St. Pete Times, and Sarasota Herald-Tribune alum)

322. Mercedes Lynn de Uriarte, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Journalism
University of Texas at Austin
Former assistant editor, Los Angeles Times opinion section

323. Sean Rowe
Miami Herald alum

324. Shari Gherman
Former New Times Broward/Palm Beach advertising director

325. Michael Malone
Media Specialst EFE News Services (Miami Herald alum)

326. Aliza Marcus
Germany-based freelancer for Boston Globe and others

327. Susan Pierres,
Freelance writer/photographer

328. Jeff Rusnak
Freelance writer
(Sun-Sentinel soccer and comedy columnist, City Link magazine contributing writer)

329. Jennie Zeiner
freelance photographer in NYC (Miami Herald freelance "alum")

330. Bill D. Green
Managing Editor, The Weekly News - Miami

331. Derek Reveron
freelancer and former Herald reporter (1987-1992)

332. Julie Mason
Houston Chronicle

333. Art Grace
Miami News alumnus

334. Robin Abcarian
Los Angeles Times

335. Ron Levitt
Ex UPI
President, South Florida Int. Press Club

336. Penny Lambeth
PR Consultant and contributing editor to various publications

337. Jess Walter
Novelist and freelancer

338. Jessica Sick
Ego Miami magazine managing editor and freelance writer (Street Weekly alum)

339. Cammy Clark
Miami Herald

340. Tim Golden
New York Times (Miami Herald alum)

341. James Gordon Meek
New York Daily News (Washington correspondent)

342. Antonio Bermúdez Salvetti
Miami Herald

343. Mary Ann Esquivel-Gibbs
Miami Herald alum

344. Teri Arvesu
Univision

345. Kenneth Bazinet
New York Daily News

346. Lisa Bolivar
Freelancer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel ( NYTRNG alum and WSKY 97.3 FM News Director alum)

347. Iris Guzman
WPTV (NBC) West Palm Beach
(Miami Herald alum)

348. Dave Boling
Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune

349. Felix Cortes
Columnist
MILENIO, daily
Mexico City, México

350. Danilo Caballero
Journalist from Panama

351. Sara Churchville
Freelance writer, Miami Beach, FL

352. Jen Karetnck
Freelance writer, ex-Miami New Times

353. Max J. Castro
columnist, progresoweekly.com; special correspondent, Sun-Sentinel (ex Nuevo Herald and Miami Herald)

354. Paul Levine
Novelist, Screenwriter, Miami Herald alum

355. Sam Jacobs
Miami Herald

356. David Nickell
Miami Herald copy editor

357. Tence Wolfe
Freelance writer, Miami

358. Julius Karash
Kansas City Star

359. Marcia Levin
Freelance Writer
Society of American Travel Writers immediate past president

360. Lauri Lee A. Claxton
Tennessee Star Journal
Pigeon Forge, TN

361. Annette Zimmerman Wells
Columnist, Redland Country News
Professor, Miami Dade College

362. Heather Hanley
Freelance writer (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)

363. Jules Siegel
Freelance journalist

364. Renato Perez
Miami Herald translator

365. Robert Wallace
Wenner Books editor in chief

366. Angel Valentin
South Florida Sun-Sentinel photographer (Miami Herald alum)

367. David Waters
(Memphis) Commercial Appeal columnist

368. Oscar J. Serrano
Puerto Rico Journalists Association president-elect

369. Tom Shroder
Washington Post Magazine editor (Miami Herald alum)

370. Joe Chudicek
(Pittsburgh) Tribune-Review Publishing Co. ME/Multimedia (Miami Herald alum)

371. Adriana Carrera
Independent journalist and former editor of Tiempos del Mundo in Miami

372. Mark Scheinbaum
UPI alum (Miami & New York)

373. Linda Raiteri
Freelance writer, Memphis, TN

374. Michael C. Browning
Palm Beach Post (Herald alum)

375. Nina Rao
Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader

376. Michael Kern
Miami Herald

377. Ted B. Kissell
Los Angeles Times (Miami New Times alum)

378. Mary Grace Dembeck
Author/artist

379. Chelsea Solmo
Key West Citizen

380. Angela Hill
News-Press

381. Blair Fischer
AOL CityGuide editor

382. Chuck Rabin
Miami Herald

383. Pedro Gonzalez Munni
www.thecubanation.com director (Miami)

384. Sam Nitze
Miami Herald

385. Mitch Lipka
Philadelphia Inquirer

386. Hiram Henriquez
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Miami herald alum)

387. Mark Elias
Freelance Photojournalist/Writer, West Palm Beach
Ex-AP Staff Photographer

388. Jason Vest
The American Prospect
(former Miami New Times staff writer)

389. Ana Menendez
The Miami Herald

390. Eric Engberg
CBS News correspondent (Retired)

391. John Fontana
Senior Editor
Network World Magazine

392. Alan Prince
university lecturer (and Herald alum)

393. Max Lesnik
Editor of Radio/Miami

394. Cesar G. Soriano
USA TODAY

395. Jane Mercer Kitchen
editor, Kids Today magazine
Miami New Times alum

396. Mary Dempsey
WorldCity Business magazine
(and member of the National Writers Union)

397. Leigh Dethman
(Salt Lake City) Deseret Morning News military reporter

398. Steve Lopez
Los Angeles Times columnist

399. Ceci Connolly
Washington Post

400. Alejandra Matus
Author, freelance, El Nuevo Herald alum

401. Jo Werne
Freelance Writer, Miami Herald (retired)

402. Adelaide R Snyder
Youngstown Vindicator (alum)

403. Sam Cook
Columnist
The News-Press
Fort Myers

404. Pete Skiba
Reporter
The News-Press

405. Collene Curran
Communications Director
Denver Newspaper Guild

406. Marc Lifsher
Business Writer
Los Angeles Times

407. Noreen Marcus
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
(Herald alum)

408. Bob Weinberg
City Link magazine

409. Margaria Fichtner
Miami Herald

410. Dexter Filkins
The New York Times (Miami Herald alum)

411. John Welbes
St. Paul Pioneer Press
(business reporter)

412. Shane Brown
Columnist
The Moline Dispatch / Rock Island Argus
Moline / Rock Island, Illinois

413. Tim Chapman
Miami Herald Staff Photographer

414. Thomas Edsall
Washington Post

415. Chuck Stone
Walter Spearman Professor
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Founding President
National Association of Black Journalists

416. Cindy Rodriguez
Denver Post columnist
General At-Large Officer, The National Association of Hispanic Journalists

417. Lisa Getter
Miami Herald alum

418. John McCaslin
Washington Times columnist

419. Shawn Vestal, reporter
Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

420. Sean Harder
Savannah Morning News

421. Catherine Hayes Janis
BS Journalism UF'83

422. Maria Travierso
El Sentinel senior reporter

423. Victor Cruz
LOFT magazine insider editor

424. April Witt
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

425. Christine Tague
Former copy editor, Miami New Times

426. David Whelan
Forbes magazine (Knight Ridder alum-Contra Costa Times)

427. R.M. Arrieta
San Francisco Bay Area-based freelance journalist

428. Gene Roman
NYC-based feelance reporter

429. Larry Higgs
Courier News (Bridgewater, NJ)

430. Sandy Wesley
Former editorial writer, Boca Raton News

431. Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times (California)

432. Charles Laszewski
St. Paul Pioneer Press

433. Tony Borelli
Freelance writer
Formerly Daily Record (Morris County, NJ) and New Jersey Herald

434. Elizabeth Baier
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Miami Herald alum)

435. Ross Johnson
Los Angeles-based freelancer

436. Steve Malagodi
WLRN / WDNA Radio

437. Lee Klein
Miami New Times restaurant reviewer

438. Walker Lundy
retired editor of three Knight-Ridder newspapers: Tallahassee Democrat, St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Philadelphia Inquirer

439. Gigi Lehman
Freelance writer and editor

440. Zita Arocha
Senior lecturer, University of Texas at El Paso (Miami Herald alum)

441. Neil Reisner
Associate Professor, Florida International University School of
Journalism/Mass Communication (Miami Herald alum)

442. Erik Hall
Freelance sports writer
Charleston, Illinois

443. Chris Willman
Entertainment Weekly
Los Angeles

444. Mark Krewatch
Journalism instructor, Marlborough School

445. Jim Magill
Associate editor for Gas Daily newsletter, a publication of McGraw-Hill Platts
President, SPJ Houston chapter

446. Mark Milstein
Managing Director
Northfoto
Budapest, Hungary

447. Bill Kirkland
Kirkland Newspapers, Inc.
Durham, N.C.

448. Carlos Vidal Ortiz
New York Post

449. Andy Alpers
Treasurer, Past President
South Florida International Press Club
Retired/Freelance

450. Albor Ruiz
Columnist
New York Daily News

451. Tonii Kelly,
Miami Herald

452. Marice Cohn Band
Miami Herald Staff Photographer

453. Luciano Garcia
Ex-reporter El Nuevo Herald / ex-reporter WSCV Channel 51, Miami

454. Theodore A. Gill, Jr.
World Council of Churches Publications and Research senior editor &
Ecumenical Review managing editor (Geneva, Switzerland)

455. Elizabeth F. Farrell
Chronicle of Higher Education

456. Lea Lane
Freelance writer/Miami and New York

457. Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
Film Critic/Columnist

458. Mary Jane Fine
Miami News alum & Knight Ridder alum

459. Bill Murphy
Houston Chronicle reporter

460. Dan Cordtz
(Wall Street Journal, Fortune magazine, ABC News correspondent,
retired)

461. Francisco G. Aruca
Director, Radio Progreso
Miami, FL

462. Robert Salladay
Los Angeles Times - Sacramento Bureau

463. Emilio Guerra
Univision.com news editor (El Nuevo Herald alum)

464. Andy Zipser
The Guild Reporter (formerly Phoenix New Times and Wall Street Journal, among others)

465. Hernan Maldonado
Ex UPI, ex El Nuevo Herald and ex CNN (retired)

466. Kymberli Hagelberg
Akron Beacon Journal

467. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Senior Editor, Ziff Davis Internet
Chairman, Internet Press Guild

468. Jim Ewing
The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, MS)

469. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
Los Angeles Times (Herald alum)

470. Evelyn McDonnell
Miami Herald

471. Pat Wade
Redland Country News chief coordinator

472. Mauricio H. Maldonado
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Miami Herald alum)

473. Lisa Nadile
Boston-based freelance journalist

474. Rene Rodriguez Soriano
ababolia.com columnist and writer

475. Hamilton Nolan
PRWeek Magazine

476. Jim Belshaw
Albuquerque Journal columnist

477. Mike Argento
(York, Pa.) Daily Record columnist
Vice president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists

478. Mike Tierney
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

479. Sarah Langbein
Rocky Mountain News

480. Bob Laurence
San Diego Union-Tribune

481. Eduardo Morales
Palm Beach Post (Knight-Ridder alum)

482. Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times

483. Sarah Koenig
Redmond Reporter

484. Deirdra Funcheon
New Times Broward - Palm Beach calendar editor

485. Vanessa Vazquez
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

486. Stuart Steers
Rocky Mountain News

487. Jennifer Mellichamp
Miami Herald

488. Ashley Fantz
Miami Herald

489. Andrea Billups
People magazine - Miami correspondent

490. Mark Hinson
Tallahassee Democrat columnist/senior writer

491. Spencer Hsu
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

492. Ubirajara Moreira da Silva Jr
Editor - Radiobras - Brazil

493. Rebecca Dellagloria
Miami Herald

494. Teresa Mears
Miami Herald

495. Bill Berlow
Tallahassee Democrat associate editor

496. Morris Malakoff
Kent (Wa.) Reporter editor

497. Roane Carey
The Nation

498. David Hanners
St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press

499. Helena Rodriguez
Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico columnist

500. Jack Dolan
Miami Herald

501. Heidi Carr
Miami Herald

502. Michele Salcedo
South Florida Sun-Sentinel assistant city editor

503. Amy Calder
(Waterville, Me.) Morning Sentinel

504. Stephanie Warsmith
Akron Beacon Journal, a fellow Knight-Ridder newspaper

505. Daisey Harris
Miami Herald

506. Brenda K. Harvey
Miami Herald

507. Matt Gross
New York-based freelancer

508. Ginelle G. Torres
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

509. Sheila Fyfe
Research consultant, Almanac of Florida Politics 1994

510. Lynda Gorov
Los Angeles-based freelance writer

511. Andy Parsons
Washington Post (Miami Herald alum)

512. Hilary Kraus
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

513. Jorg Nowak
Univision Online
Miami

514. Fred Hanson
The Patriot Ledger
Quincy, MA

515. Mary Sutter
Miami Herald

516. Merwin Sigale
Miami Herald copy editor &
Miami Dade College senior associate professor of journalism

517. Dave Kelley
Austin, TX-based freelancer

518. Sean P. Means
Salt Lake Tribune movie critic

519. Gerald Posner
Author/investigative journalist

520. Lesley Phillips
Region One V.P.,The Newspaper Guild-CWA

521. Casey Woods
Miami Herald

522. Sharon Harvey Rosenberg
Freelancer with a regular column in the Miami Herald

523. Tom FitzGerald
San Francisco Chronicle sportswriter

524. Angela Dire
former reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette

525. Ty Kennedy
WFOR - CBS4 / WBFS - UPN33 reporter
Viacom Television Stations - Miami

526. Alan Farago
Orlando Sentinel columnist

527. Jay Cheshes
New York-based freelancer

528. Eric Sorensen
Spokesman-Review alum

131 Comments:

Blogger joe sharkey said...

Re your letter: I don't necessary agree that the guy made a "mistake," folks. Sounds to me like he was doing exactly what any of us would have done under the circumstances. I wouldn't concede that point to some craven publisher.
Best,
Joe Sharkey

5:03 PM  
Blogger Val Prieto said...

Um, isnt what he did illegal?

6:59 PM  
Blogger Sallie Hughes said...

U.S. journalism today seems so carnavalesque, in the inversion, upside-down sense of the term. We have Judy Miller held up as a hero when her reporting on the biggest issue of our time was passive at best (see A. Huffington's column on it perhaps being collusive). Yet she is jailed in the name of a journalistic principle I think we all agree must be upheld. And then we have Jim Defede, the Herald's only consistant muckraker, fired for an impulse that was indeed illegal in our fair state but understandable given the nature of the call and completely undoable had he just destroyed the tape and fessed up about it. What gives?

8:22 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I can understand Jim's colleagues and friends showing support for him during what must be a tough time. However, from a professional standpoint, it doesn't make any sense.

I'm not a journalist, but common sense tells me that if I do something illegal, my boss has every right to fire me, no questions asked. I realize the unusual and tense situation DeFede was in, but he's been around long enough to know that you can't just record someone without their consent. I've been interviewed many times by radio/TV/print as part of my job, and I am well aware of the law.

As far as DeFede's controversial and attacking nature being a part of the reason for his dismissal, that is just plain nonsense. DeFede had already earned quite a reputation at the New Times before arriving at the Herald, so Fiedler and Co. knew exactly what they were getting, and I don't think they were too disappointed based on recent columns.

Lastly, I am deeply disappointed at the journalists who've signed their names to the letter, especially the Herald reporters whose work I've been reading for quite a few years now.

Shame on you!

10:10 PM  
Blogger daniel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:04 AM  
Blogger daniel said...

Technically he didnt do anything illegal and supporting a peer is nothing to shame. He didnt plagiarize and he didn't spread libel. There was no real reason to fire him. Maybe even an extended suspension without pay was in order but firing Defede was not the way to go.

12:06 AM  
Blogger ...Joe Shea said...

Please add my name.

Joe Shea, Editor-in-Chief, The American Reporter

12:18 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

While it would appear that DeFede can possibly a felony with this taping, what I'm curious about is if Florida law also considers the mental state of both parties. With the statements of DeFede and other Herald staffers, that rationality of Teele at that moment has to be seriously considered.

Was Knight Ridder concerned about journalism ethics, or the bottom line of other publication latching onto the mere possibility of a Hearald staffer facing a possible felony or misdemeanor charge.

This whole situation is pretty murky.

3:43 AM  
Blogger Lubina Mastur said...

Could it be that The Herald was feeling pressure from the Cuban Right about Jim's columns about Posada and Ross-Lethinen...and this was just an excuse to get rid of Jim?
Victor Salyers

9:05 AM  
Blogger Neil Plakcy said...

We've all made mistakes; Jim DeFede was honest enough to admit his quickly. The Herald needs to find a more realistic way to indicate its displeasure while retaining an important voice for Miami.

9:44 AM  
Blogger BlogrollMeBill said...

This comment was worth deletion?:

"But in any case he came forward on his own and has admitted his mistake."

You're grown men. Spot the flaw in this statement.

Admitting you made a mistake doesn't make it all better.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Alejandra said...

The Miami Herald editors simply punished DeFede for his objective positions concerning terrorism against Cuba and regarding the case of Luis Posada Carriles. The Miami Herald cannot live with the luxury of objectivity.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Juan Paxety said...

I'm sorry to say this is foolishness. I've worked as a jounalist in Florida for years. It is illegal to make secret audio tape recordings. Illegal.

Whatever the rule may be in some other state is irrelevent - in Florida it is illegal.

Every TV station I worked for in this state emphasized this point to its reporters, producters and anchors. DeFede surely knew it was illegal.

He should have been fired.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Eduardo said...

To the individuals expounding here upon the alleged "illegality" of what Jim DeFede did:

You are not attorneys.

You have no idea what you are talking about.

Florida law prohibiting the interception of any wire, oral, or electronic communication without consent does not apply as long as the call was received by ordinary telephone equipment (i.e., not just the recording device itself) and was recorded in the ordinary course of business.

Whatever one may think of the ethics of the situation, Jim DeFede arguably did nothing illegal.

Personally, I feel that the fact he informed the Herald execs what he had done goes far in atoning for any ethical lapse -- he could easily have said nothing, or even said that Teele consented, and no one would have been the wiser -- and that a simple suspension would have an appropriate and adequate response on the part of the Herald.

I sincerely doubt Tom Fiedler was behind this. I would imagine that Jesus Diaz, Jr. and/or Knight-Ridder felt it was the politically correct thing to do in light of the recent heightened scrutiny being given journalists and their use of sources.

Shame on the Herald and on Knight-Ridder. Admit you made a mistake and hire Jim DeFede back immediately.

11:06 AM  
Blogger BlogrollMeBill said...

Yeah, that's why the State Attorney is investigating him: because he so clearly did nothing wrong.

11:15 AM  
Blogger alesh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:19 AM  
Blogger alesh said...

Is it true that there were other instances where Jim recorded people without their knowledge, or was this the only time?

Why, if he regretted making the tape, not just toss it in the trash and forget?

"May not be technically illegal." Can someone explain this a little better?

Any actual chance of the Herald reversing its position and taking him back?

More discussion of this issue and . (note: weird problem in my previous post; please delete it and keep this one; sorry!)

11:22 AM  
Blogger Jacob Thomas said...

I don't mean to step on any toes here, but it's pretty clear the line between "questionable" and "illegal" was transgressed here. Journalism in America has positioned itself such that the people making the news often feel that they have the right or duty to supercede the law for "the public interest." I hate to be critical, folks, but laws such as these are put into place to protect the public from journalism. Whether or not you think that's right is your opinion, but right or wrong, what Defede did was illegal.

11:37 AM  
Blogger revoltingpeasant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:37 AM  
Blogger revoltingpeasant said...

The biggest question for a journalist is not whether an action is illegal. The biggest question for a journalist is whether it's ethical.

I don't see a major ethical problem with DeFede tape recording Teele's and his conversation. Anyone of reasonable sophistication should realize a conversation with a reporter or columnist is not private. Recording a conversation protects both parties.

The firing of a columnist or reporter should not be done in the heat of the moment. It was not DeFede's fault that Teele shot himself, anymore than it was DeFede's fault that Teele stole millions of dollars or slept with prostitutes. The tape recording was incidental.

Firing DeFede was not the answer.

11:41 AM  
Blogger None said...

Received via e-mail:

The "Open Letter" in defense of DeFede provides only for journalists to speak to the unfairness of the Herald's draconian reaction. We who teach and write in other venues are equally shocked, and hope the DeFede will find soon himself working for a more realistic and appreciative employer.

Jim Stacey, author of Seattle Homes

11:45 AM  
Blogger Balzac said...

A petition is nice. How about a Herald walkout?

12:27 PM  
Blogger Mari H said...

No Double Standard

So you want double standards? One for journalists and another for us, the people that get reported on.

Your publisher did the right thing. Defede was wrong, his actions were illegal and immoral.

Defede should have taken notes and summarized the conversation once it was over.

I respect your publisher's actions on Defede's firing. Its good to know the Herald's management will hold reporters to the high standards which reporters hold for the rest of us.

Mari H

12:43 PM  
Blogger None said...

Received via email:

I don't know if you are taking signatures of private citizens to your petition, but if you are, then please add my name to your petition. The firing of Defede is a gross over-reaction to a human error compounded in its excess by the fact that Defede came forward, admitted his error openly and without provocation, and apologized. A suspension and reprimand would be more than sufficient. What the Herald has done in this matter goes beyond the pale and is wholly inappropriate. Please count me among the numerous others who believe Defede has been wrongfully punished and who support his reinstatement. I have already notified the Herald that its failure to reinstate Defede will result in my canceling my subscription. I will not patronize a newspaper that so grossly and inappropriately over-reacts in the face of candor and honesty, Mr. Diaz's self-serving rationalizations notwithstanding.

Ernest J. Myers
Miami Beach, FL
candorman@bellsouth.net
Keep on rockin' in the free world

12:44 PM  
Blogger elp said...

I work here in Miami in the criminal justice system. This is being written on my own behalf, and not my office's, so I'm not going to say where exactly. A few thoughts:

1. The taping was illegal. The statute (F.S. 934.03) is clear that telephone conversations cannot be recorded with both parties consenting, with a few narrowly drawn exceptions, none of which apply here.

2. Regardless of illegality, charges are unlikely to be pressed in this type of case where the victim is unwilling to press charges. I suspect that Teele considered DeFede a friend and likely would not have pressed charges.

3. Most importantly, the important thing to remember is that even though a felony was committed, not every crime should be punished equally. You don't give someone the death penalty for jaywalking, so to speak. In the criminal justice system, DeFede would likely be facing probation, or a diversion program. The Herald overreacted here. Rather than placing DeFede on the professional equivalent of probation (suspension/loss of pay), they imposed the "death penalty" by firing DeFede.

I love Miami with all my heart, and spend every minute of my work day trying to make it a better place to live for the people of Miami. I don't know DeFede personally, but I suspect he felt much the same as I do. We have far too many people in this town who care only about wealth, fame and power. An impassioned voice for the powerless, a voice against the corrupt, the greedy, the sleazy has been silenced for one mistake. Shame on you, the Miami Herald, shame on you!

Errol Portman
Miami, Florida

12:51 PM  
Blogger elp said...

sorry, minor error in last posting: 1. should read "1. The taping was illegal. The statute (F.S. 934.03) is clear that telephone conversations cannot be recorded withOUT both parties consenting, with a few narrowly drawn exceptions, none of which apply here."

12:53 PM  
Blogger None said...

Received via e-mail:

I support Jim DeFede

Julio V. Ruiz, MD
Miami, FL

12:55 PM  
Blogger herbertbf said...

Tom Fielder's statement that "We, as journalists, operate in a world where we hold people to high standards and ourselves to higher standards.'' seems hypocritical in light of the "Miami Bombshells" debacle and DeFede's firing.
In the Bombshell case, he gave away acres of prime newspaper real estate for advertising, seeing to it that the Herald acted as a P.R. agency for former staffers peddling crap. He breached the sanctity of the newsroom, and damaged the Herald's credibility in doing so. If he holds hiself to a higher standard, he should resign. Or maybe he is more tolerant of his errors of judgement than he is of others'.
What DeFede did was not a premeditated violation, it was done in the heat of an emotionally charged situation. This does not represent an ethical transgression worthy of firing. As for the legality of DeFede's actions, it's arguable whether it was actually illegal.

12:57 PM  
Blogger None said...

Received via email:

I want to add my name to the people outraged at the Herald’s firing of DeFede. While acknowledging the seriousness of the mistake, it was a quick decision that he promptly reported. His honesty and integrity is apparent and the Herald has overreacted to the current administration’s constant criticism and questioning of the press. PLEASE reinstate DeFede. About the only protest a loyal reader can make is to reluctantly cancel their subscription.

Allen Werneck
Aventura, Fl.

1:02 PM  
Blogger None said...

Received via email:
Jim DeFede: clear-eyed and courageous

Dear Journalists: It looks like I waited too long to write Jim DeFede a fan letter. (His continuing coverage of the Posada Carriles business, and his reporting from Cuba were particularly memorable recent accomplishments, in addition to his consistently excellent reporting of the Teele cases, as they developed.)

The Herald acted out of panic when it fired Mr DeFede, rather than examine the facts and legal issues before it made a decision. To this long-time Miamian, it appears that the Herald, which had long abandoned the solid investigative reporting business, could not handle the stress of once again having on board a columnist who insisted on keeping the reporting spotlight on the corruption issues that cry out for attention, including but not limited to those that enveloped Arthur Teele.

I would be honored to join your list of supporters of Mr DeFede. I will be heartbroken if he leaves Miami as a result of these events.

Nancy C. Wear, Attorney at Law
Coral Gables, Florida

1:03 PM  
Blogger Kristin Carter said...

Regarding the illegality of the taping, I believe the Herald reported this morning that there was an appeals court decision that ruled that the prohibition against recording without notifying all parties to a conversation does not apply to business calls.

Further, a law enforcement officer is quoted as saying that in the case of De Fede, the taping would only be a misdemeanor as he did not intend to use the tape in the commission of a crime. If he were looking to commit blackmail, for example, then it would be a felony.

Ethically, it's a little tougher. I have a journalism degree, and survived Jon Roosenrad's Ethics class at the University of Florida. But I've wound up working in government, and am more empathetic to how a source feels any time a journalist does something to betray that source's confidence, unless there's an extremely compelling reason to do so.

While the circumstances surrounding the taping, along with De Fede's openness with his editors about it don't change the fact that he probably broke the law and definitely violated a source's confidence, they should be considered mitigating factors by his editors when they meted out his punishment.

And I'm just a reader, but you can add my name to the petition.

Kristin Carter
Ft. Lauderdale
carter555@hotmail.com

1:49 PM  
Blogger Bartholomew said...

Jim Defede is one of the best reporters that the Herald has ever had. They should be standing up for him, not selling him out. It's interesting to see the brain drain reflected in the list of signees though. Why can't the Herald hold on to newer talent? And who will want to work for the Herald now?

1:53 PM  
Blogger Julio said...

I support Jim DeFede.
The gossip in town today, especially among some moderate cuban americans, is that Jesus Diaz Jr., the publisher and also a cuban-american, was looking for a reason to get rid of the hot potatoe, and he found it with the unfortunate death of Arthur Teele Jr.
I regret the lost of a human life and also the lost of a good journalist.

Julio Ruiz, MD

2:05 PM  
Blogger None said...

Via e-mail:

A non journalist voice for DeFede

The Herald’s rash dismissal of its most interesting and freethinking local columnist is a huge loss to our community.

One of the necessities for a vibrant city is an excellent daily paper. In spite of all the distressing changes to the Herald I’ve seen since moving here in 1978, one high spot was the willingness of the paper to carry a writer who was willing to speak out in ways that must have mightily offended the powers that be. Another illusion is lost as one can only think the Herald was pleased to rid itself of DeFede. Again a voice is silenced that tells us the emperor has no clothes. If there was ever a time where the need for a free and uncensored press existed, this is it.

The loss of Jim DeFede to the Herald may be the last blow to what used to one of our countries leading newspapers. I have written the Herald that I will cancel my subscription unless Jim DeFede is reinstated.

Barbara Pope
Coconut Grove

2:21 PM  
Blogger Eduardo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:47 PM  
Blogger C.L. Jahn said...

Val Prieto apparently believes that Jim Defede broke the law, and that that is enought to warrant termination. Certainly Feidler and Diaz seem to feel the same way. Here's why they are wrong:
First, creating a recording of the conversation in and of itself is not strictly illegal; the SC has all ready made rulings regarding recordings of copyrighted material than in essence state that the fact and existence of a recording in and of itself does not do any harm to anyone. It is the USAGE of that recording that determines its legality. Certainly, even if he HAD used it - which he didn't - it would have been MISDEMEANOR. How many reporters has Feidler and Daiz canned for speeding or parking illegally?
Defede didn't use the recorded material; he didn't mis-represent it, he didn't make it up. He did not falsify any of his articles. The Herald was not at any time exposed to ANY ACTUAL conflict here. In light of the fact that they had NO exposure, an appropriate response to anyone who catches himself in such a mistak would be to reprimand him, make him eat a few plates of Crow, and send him home without pay for a few weeks.
While Defede isn't the only good reporter at the Herald, and while I enjoy the Herald immensely, the only lever I have to pull is to cancel my subscription, which I have done. I am also campaigning my friends and family to pull out of the Herald, including advertising.
Feidler and Diaz reacted hysterically, and not with the seasoned regard I would expect of men in charge of a major newspaper.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Val Prieto said...

So, basically, what every "journalist" is stating by signing on to this letter is that they are above the law and that they do not have to live or abide the ethical standards by which they themselves judge other figures.

Regardless of whether or not DeFede and Teele were friends, the fact that Teele specifically stated his conversation was off the record expressly implies a more than reasonable expectation of privacy. Whether or not DeFede published the story is a moot point, as the simple act of recording was the crime.

Yet perhaps even more troublesome is the fact that every single "journalist" that signs this letter seems to not have a problem with the ethical ramifications of DeFede's behavior. The most valuable aspect of a journalist is his integrity, and knowingly violating the ethical standard that is not only the reporter's duty to ensure in those that he reports on, but his responsibility as a professional to uphold for himself, decidedly stains that integrity.

If the reporter is going to hold the subjects of his report to a certain ethical level, then he very well be beyond ethical reproach.

3:02 PM  
Blogger elp said...

This argument is NOT and has NEVER been about whether there should be some punishment. Everyone is in agreement that there should be punishment, the issue at hand is the SEVERITY of the punishment. Our object all sublime is indeed to make the punishment fit the crime. Getting fired for this one mistake is ridiculous.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Alex Munoz said...

Alex A. Munoz
Unplugged Cyber Cafe LLC

What good is having an open door policy when one can’t walk through it without getting their head chopped off when they walk through it? The herald has simply becoming a medieval institution.

The picture on the front page was horrific and kids walking to school should have not seen such a depiction of violence on the newsstands. One should warrant and ask that liaza's head be demanded for such a call to publish that photo. its not sensible knowing that Miami’s black community could react to such a picture in violence... people that haven’t been here long enough should know better then to call shots especially in racially sensitive issues... that picture should be censored and she should get reprimanded I mean fired (being that is the herald way) for such an insensitive disrespectful call to publish such a picture.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Alex Munoz said...

Alex A. Munoz
Unplugged Cyber Cafe LLC

Furthermore i Believe the Herald should Print out a front page apology to the community and the family of art teele, for publishing such a disrespectful picture depicting the death of art teele.

The Knight Ridder Company should be ashamed to be associated with a High School Quality Newspaper such as the Miami Herald.

SHAME ON YOU MIAMI HERALD for disrespecting that mans family and death by publishing such picture.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Val Prieto said...

elp,

Therein lies the problem. It's not a mistake, it is a crime. Had DeFede been, say, a councilman who made an illegal recording of a telephone conversation, then every single one of these reporters would be calling for his immediate resignation and basically crucifying him in the media.

Why should a reporter be held to a different standard than a politician?

I am no fan of the Miami Herald, but you certainly cant take them to task for firing DeFede. A professional impropriety is a professional impropriety, and just like any good reporter would justly call for the resignation of any person in office or of prominence for commiting a crime, so has the Miami Herald in this case.

There is no merit to your argument. For once, the Miami Herald acted responsibly as an institution and as a business.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I knew it had to happen sooner or later. Julio Ruiz, MD, in a previous comment, suggests that Jesus Diaz's Cuban roots was the reason for firing DeFede.

When are some people in this town going to grow up? I mean, this continued assumption that Cubans are responsible for everything that happens in Miami is ludicrous.

You all continue to search for reasons and justifications for what DeFede did. That's a good sign that he did something truly wrong.

As much as I disagreed with a lot of his columns, I wish he wouldn't have done what he did. I wish he was still employed by the Herald. But he's not anymore. He screwed up. Life goes on. Accept it.

The only thing I'm upset with the Herald about is the choice to print the graphic photo on the front page.

No, I won't be cancelling my subscription. Maybe the Herald can take this opportunity to hire a columnist who's not so far to the left and therefore more representative of the ENTIRE community.

4:04 PM  
Blogger None said...

Via email:

Rehire Jim DeFede!!!

Jim DeFede was terminated for speaking his mind too many times -- not because he taped Art Teele's converstation without his consent. At most, Jim should have been suspended for a few days. Most appropriate would have been a slap on the wrist.

Jim tells it like it is and has offended various groups of people living here in Miami-Dade County. It's obvious that Fiedler and Diaz were just waiting for an opportunity to get rid of this great jouralist who is one of the few at the Herald who doesn't play the PC game. That game has grown tiresome.

If Jim is not rehired, I'll cancel my subscription for sure.

Sincerely,
Maria W.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Gail Messler said...

Two wrongs don't make it right!

When did businesses start making decisions based on emotions? When I heard the news that Jim Defede was fired the same night Arthur Teele commited suicide in the lobby of the hearld building, my first thought it was an emotional decision.

Will the new standard at the Herald be only perfect people need apply?

Will the publisher and editor realize they to made a huge mistake and be smart enough to bring Defede back?

I certainly hope so!

4:19 PM  
Blogger Jorge Blanco said...

DeFede should not only be fired he should be legally prosecuted if in fact he is found to have broken the law. The same standards should apply to him that he demanded of everyone else. Anything else would be the highest level of hypocrisy.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I find it laughable that eduardo says we can't comment on legality because we aren't lawyers, and then he goes into a really bad description of a law he apparently knows nothing about.

I'm a lawyer in Dade. I know 934. I'm here to tell you Jim is in trouble. I don't know many employers who would retain an employee who committed a felony during the course of business.

5:25 PM  
Blogger DANIHEL HENRICVS PALMAE said...

On Jim DeFede's Firing
Just last week the media was wallowing in Mr. Teele's muddy demise like swine in a pigsty. Come 6pm Wednesday when he decides to take his life at the Herald building, he suddenly becomes a beloved leader of the masses and everyone like Pilate, washes their hands, bestowing praises on the man everyone labeled a con. I am no longer enticed to keep on reading or subscribing to this newspaper and I can tell you many of my peers feel the same way. Furthermore, I felt that it was unfair that Mr. Jim DeFede was fired over the taping of the conversation he had with Mr. Teele.

Mr. Díaz's statement that Mr. DeFede's actions caused his firing and undermined public trust in the paper, is but a cover for the truth—''The public's trust is at stake as a result of Jim's actions,'' Díaz said. ``We have to make sure that the public understands that trust is the most important value that the community bestows upon us.'' If there was anyone at the Herald that I admired most and whose columns I enjoyed because they contained "in your face" reporting not meant to maintain or please the keepers of the status quo, that was Mr. DeFede. If there was anyone at the Herald whom the public trusted, that was Mr. DeFede.

Of course, when heads need to roll they must, and who better to swing the axe on the unsuspecting victim at the chopping block than the big honchos themselves under the excuse that he broke "ethical standards". This, as if there were no other punishments at hand or as if in day-to-day operations, there is not one reporter who commits these little peccadilloes in the name of reporting, but which go unnoticed or unpunished because they keep their sins to themselves! But for a paper, which at times had written negatively about Mr. Teele to then direct condolences to his wife in the front page next to a picture of the man in a puddle of blood, it's the most hypocritical mark and low point of everything that could come from such organization. Perhaps the condolences are just meant to soothe or avoid legal repercussions from Mr. Teele's wife and family over those taped conversations.

You have lost many subscribers today!

Enrico di Parma

5:36 PM  
Blogger Amy Sabato said...

It is unbelievable to me that Jim didn't expect this at some point. After writing so many anti-Herald stories for the NEW TIMES, he accepts a job with the very people he knew to be biased and unfair. He sold his soul to the devil and his firing (unmerited only because the Herald is not the Beacon of high morals and fairness) is not a surprise to me. Sadly, imo, whether guilty or innocent, Mr. Teele reached out to the wrong person moments before committing suicide.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Jay Spieler said...

I think that is horrific that Herald management has elevated DeFede's exercize of poor judgement to a firable offense.

His hiring was a bright spot in my 40+ years of readership. His firing points to a return to mediocrity of this paper.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Sonja Pantry said...

Circumstances alter cases and this was a most extraordinary and unparalleled set of circumstances. Please reconsider this extraordinarily hasty decision to fire Jim Defede. It almost sounds as though the Miami Herald is desperately trying to distance itself from Teele's act of desperation carried out on their premises. Why must Jim Defede be a sacrificial lamb?

7:45 PM  
Blogger None said...

Via e-mail:

Subject: open letter

please add our names to this letter

thanks
Francisco Rotella
Magaly Montes
The Miami Herald readers

8:24 PM  
Blogger Kristin Carter said...

Commission of a crime is not necessarily grounds for firing. I do believe there's a Herald reporter still on staff who has a DUI conviction on her record.

The Herald management exercised its discretion and weighed all the circumstances, and decided she had turned her life around and could still be a valuable reporter.

I don't believe De Fede is "above the law." If prosecutors decide there is evidence of a crime, they should prosecute him.

But the Herald's punsihment should fit the offense, and in this case it doesn't.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Professors Gone Wild said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:29 PM  
Blogger AuntiCraker said...

Technically I hope he never works again. He looks kinda like Mikey Moorealess. Strange the shocking resemblance. They are both fat and have no ethics. Oh and by the way you guys suck.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Fidel Castro said...

Hazme el favor chico, dimele a esa gente ahi que me dejen tranquilo al gordito Jim DeFede. Que la Mafia de Miami me lo deje tranquilo de una vez y para ti Jim, tu sabes que tienes tu casa en Cuba gordito lindo.

11:18 PM  
Blogger James Seaton-Herald reader said...

The knee-jerk reaction to the frantic situation in which Jim DeFede found himself, is nothing more than human. To err is human, to compound an error is irresponsible and foolish. This Herald reader believes there is more behind the firing of Jim DeFede than meets the eye. The over-reactive firing of DeFede is quite transparent. I hope a responsible person on the inside will get to the bottom of this.

11:24 PM  
Blogger J A Girl said...

Go Jim Go - 60 minutes or bust

12:22 AM  
Blogger Maria Ines Castro said...

I originally met Mr. DeFede in a professional capacity. I am now fortunate to count him among my good friends and I can say without reservation that he is a person of utmost integrity. If Herald executives are sticking to their position, they should apply the same severity to other staff and freelance reporters who act unethically.

Jim will find another job. The Herald won‚t find another Jim. Ours is a community where integrity is the exception. As such, we‚ve become desensitized to public corruption scandals, and unless Carl Hiaasen or Leonard Pitts take over the Metro column, I can think of no other current reporter who will look after the public good the way Jim did.

Maria Ines Castro

12:33 AM  
Blogger sinaire said...

The truth is the first casualty at the peoples expense these days. People who pedal power "Can't handle the truth" anymore. I have already cancelled my subscription this evening and will be getting my truth from someplace that wont take advantage of an understandable momentary lapse in judgement.

2:10 AM  
Blogger C.L. Jahn said...

Val, I'd just like to point out that the prosecutors office has said that they don't feel he's done anything they can charge him with.

He didn't break the law, and frankly he didn't actually violate any code of ethics.

I've posted my reasoning on my own blog. As more facts become available, it becomes clearer that Defede did not do anything wrong except assume his editor was a real newsperson.

And for the record, I'm not involved in the news industry. Disgusted with its managment, sure. But I'm a reader of what little there is worth reading.

I am pleased that the journalists I respect the most have signed the petition. Sorry I won't be reading them until the Herald gets competent management.

2:46 AM  
Blogger None said...

Via email:

With Defede gone, the crooked politicians and government administrators are going to have a field day. The Herald has probably been looking for a reason to get rid of him.

AHS
Miami

8:00 AM  
Blogger None said...

Regarding your blog at http://journalistsfordefede.blogspot.com

I know the US have very strict law regarding the privacy of the invididuals and such things. But this could make all of us think about the journalism as a profession, and not only as an "amateurs occupation". As professionals we are, there are some techniques we need to use in some special cases, just like other professions (lawyers, medics, and other specialists, mostly those who have to deal with human beings and their feelings, madness and secrets). I am writing from Chile, and we have had an internal discussion here as well (very long, believe me) about the privacy of the individuals and the limit for the press action in our effort to show the truth to our public, the readers (which we are devoted to). We are not commited to protect the politicians, nor the government officials, nor the rich people... we are here to INFORM what the READERS want to know. And that's it.
I can imagine this guy most probably "smelled" the conversation was having with the other man over the phone was becoming something "important" and he wanted to have a record, maybe just in case. I would have done the same thing, to be honest. It is normal. If you will need to write about that conversation, you will need to listen it 2, 3, 4 times to get the full details.
Think about this, guys. I don't think our colleague made a mistake, at all. Most of us -good reporters- would have done just the same thing. If not... maybe you are making your job not as seriously as you should.


Regards,



Alexis Urbani

El Mercurio, CHILE (retired)



---sorry if my English doesn't sound as from a "journalist" but my native language is Spanish, as you may guess. You will find some of my Spanish articles searching by "Alexis Urbani" in Google.com. Thanks, guys.

9:55 AM  
Blogger None said...

I don't always agree with Jim Defede but I do agree
that he is an important asset to the community I love
and I'd bet my farm that the late Gene Miller would
have his name of this list.

Edward Carhart, Esquire

12:18 PM  
Blogger Pedro González-Munné said...

I think you need to have the history right, maybe once in a while.
Mr. Fiedler is use to lie, remember when recently he said something in Havana and then another here: "for the sake of the company".
Is common knowledge in South FL that is dangerous to talk to The Miami Herald, because your people have the habit of taping conversations all the time.
We printed a story that happens to us and I think is in one of my books.
Aracely Perdomo, from the Editorial Pages of El Nuevo..., tape conversation with me and played the tape in the newsroom in the presence of two reporters (one of them signing this web page).
Two weeks later in Havana one "official" from the Cuban Cancillería repeat the same words to me.
How that go for an example of ethics.
Now they want that Defede pays the trip to Havana and the columns here and in New Times.
Is too late and too short Mr. Fiedler, these community knows and not from the Herald.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Pedro González-Munné said...

I think you need to have the history right, maybe once in a while.
Mr. Fiedler is used to lie, remember when recently he said something in Havana and change the history in Miami: "for the sake of the company".
Is common knowledge in South FL that is dangerous to talk to The Miami Herald, because your people have the habit of taping conversations all the time. And you never know where that tape is going to end.
We printed a story in The Cuban Nation that happend to me and I think is also in one of my books.
Aracely Perdomo, from the Editorial Pages of El Nuevo..., tape a conversation with me and played the tape in the newsroom in the presence of two reporters (one of them signing this web page).
Two weeks later in Havana one "official" from the Cuban Cancillería repeat the same words to me.
How that go for an example of ethics.
Now they want that Defede pays the trip to Havana and the columns here and in New Times.
Is too late and too short Mr. Fiedler, these community knows for eal and not from the Herald.

1:02 PM  
Blogger None said...

Reading about his dismissal on the wires, I wondered why his bosses
didn't
suspend him with pay while they did a complete and thorough
investigation. How
disappointing that they acted with such haste.

Connie Knox
Baltimore Sun and Region 2 VP, The Newspaper Guild-CWA

1:59 PM  
Blogger None said...

Via email:

In support of Jim Defede

If possible please add my name to the list Monique Tapie, media
relations specialist, thank you

2:15 PM  
Blogger Jess Walter said...

Please add my name to the list:

Jess Walter
freelancer, author, Spokesman-Review alum

and follower of the Blessed Grilled Cheese.

2:49 PM  
Blogger None said...

via email

Good day to you. As a longtime subscriber to The Miami Herald I would like to add my name to the Defede Petition. Jim is a well reasoned writer and was an intelligent addition to The Miami Herald

Thank you!

Leesa Burzynski
Miami, Florida

5:53 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I hope you all feel good by knowing that 300 journalists are backing DeFede up for committing a serious ethics violation (I won't even mention possible criminal charges).

This episode really makes me feel bad for the journalists out there who have true integrity and respect. Right now, it seems that journalism is barely above politics and law as far as ethics are concerned.

6:17 PM  
Blogger David Oscar Markus said...

Prof. Froomkin and I debate the legaity of the taping here: www.sdfla.blogspot.com

6:21 PM  
Blogger A. Boese said...

I am not an insider. I know nothing of the Herald or Jim DeFede personally. But I know that his was the only column that I looked for specifically when I opened the Herald. My gut always told me that Jim had the truth and the people of Miami's best interest in mind when he investigated and wrote a story. And he probably upset a lot of people with the straightforward manner in which he told those stories. My gut also tells me that the Herald would not let such a man go unless it was waiting for an excuse to do so. Was Jim too good at doing what real journalists are supposed to do?

6:53 PM  
Blogger DerekTNG said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:30 PM  
Blogger DerekTNG said...

For what it's worth, and it's obviously not much, I am glad DeFede was fired.

What he did was at least wrong if not illegal.

But more than that, he's become some sort of self-appointed lord in Miami -- speaking for people who never asked him to speak for them. That's not journalism. It's demagoguery.

Jim DeFede may or may not be a felon. But he long ago lost his way as a reporter. Now he's in the business of rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies.

To me, this on-line support for him has much more to do with self-preservation than ethics. Smells kinda like used car salesmen defending another used car salesman for selling a lemon.

A lemon is a lemon and a crime is a crime.

God help us if journalists can't be objective when one of their own is invlolved.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Sallie Hughes said...

Hi Peter,

I've decided to sign the petition. I've been thinking a lot about this. I initially didn't want to sign out of respect for Tom Fiedler, and because I think Jim did commit an error in judgment, albeit under extremely stressful circumstances. But most human beings have committed errors in judgment under stress, taping the call caused no one harm, and he quickly owned up to it. If he is fired, I fear the message is that it is best to hide our mistakes. I am going to post this message as well.

Thanks,

Sallie Hughes,
Assistant Professor
School of Communication
University of Miami

8:07 PM  
Blogger Professors Gone Wild said...

DEFEDE'S UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEM SOLVED!

Granma newspaper, the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party, continues reproducing DeFede's articles two days after he was fired.
http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2005/julio/vier29/posada.html
They apparently admire his style of journalism, as they have previously reprinted many of his articles. DeFede will have no problem getting a job with them.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Professors Gone Wild said...

DEFEDE'S UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEM SOLVED!

Granma newspaper, the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party, continues reproducing DeFede's articles two days after he was fired.
http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2005/julio/vier29/posada.html
They apparently admire his style of journalism, as they have previously reprinted many of his articles. DeFede will have no problem getting a job with them.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Several people have commented about Miami needing someone like DeFede to save us from our obvious tendencies toward the corrupt and unethical.

The same people who are willing to give DeFede a free pass despite violating ethical code are the same ones who pontificate over Miami's lack of ethics.

Kind of sounds like DeFede, right?

What we need in Miami are more good, honest people who are willing to do what's right for the greater good, not biased journalists who hold grudges.

9:05 PM  
Blogger None said...

Via email:

Firing DeFede: What a load of birdseed

Dear Tom Fiedler:

Good thing heavyweights like Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee were running the show at the Washington Post when Woodward and Bernstein erred in reporting selected information as coming from grand jury testimony ... when it hadn't.

Otherwise, knee-jerk behavior in the form of ill-considered late-night firings -- as evidenced by publishing lightweights here in South Florida -- might have changed the course of history.

Sanctimonious published comments about Jim DeFede violating your paper's "ethical standards" are coming off to many readers like a load of moldy birdseed.

Such commentary from your publisher seems all the more dubious after the New York Times reports you published portions of the smoking gun tape (as transcribed and described by DeFede with your permission) after you knew your about-to-be former columnist had hit the record button without express consent.

Just in case things get sticky with the law, it appears The Herald's policy goes something like: "We run the message, then kill our messenger quick."

Or maybe: " We squeeze the orange, then hang the peel out to dry."

Or how about: "We got bloody news for sale, but we avoid drips on our bottom line."

What was that again about The Herald's high standards? Think for a moment about what you've done.

Before your paper embarrasses itself further, please do the right thing by reinstating Jim DeFede, a voice many of us have come to respect and seek.

Then start worrying about whether, together, you've broken the law and what you're going to do about it.

Lynne Helm
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

11:31 PM  
Blogger None said...

I first met Jim Defede working with him at the student
newspaper at Colorado State University in 1985. What
a great guy, and a great journalist. His firing is an
incredible injustice. Here's hoping the Rocky
Mountain News will pick him up, and bring him back to
Colorado.

Steve Harelson
Former Journalist, Present Transportation Engineer.

11:53 PM  
Blogger None said...

I've taken issue with a few of DeFede's Herald columns, in Spanish-language print, radio and cable. For what it's worth, I am pretty sure that, here in Miami, I was also the first hack to side with DeFede in public. I did so the day I learned of his dismissal. I blasted the Herald's unjust, spineless decision to rid itself of the guy in last Thursday's edition of the public-affairs proggy I co-host weekday nights on Castillian-tonguedTeleMiami, and in my daily commentary for TeleMiami's 10 PM newscast.

At worst, DeFede committed a misdemeanor under the Florida law which Díaz held up as the (un) reason for firing his paper's most popular local columnist. Such third-rate casuistry!

So sign me up: Ramón A. Mestre,Tele Miami ( The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald "alum", 11 years and I didn't bloody get my degree)

I still write a column for El Nuevo, but I've been in remission since January.

PS If Díaz is dim enough to heed the open letter's "take DeFede back" demand then I hope DeFede responds by telling 1 Herald

Plaza to fuck itself. As Groucho says, "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member "

1:20 AM  
Blogger Lisa Renee said...

At first I felt Jim DeFede had been mistreated until I read this comment made by him:

DeFede issued a prepared statement: "In a tense situation I made a mistake," he said. "The Miami Herald executives only learned about it because I came to them and admitted it. I told them I was willing to accept a suspension and apologize both to the newsroom and our readers. Unfortunately, The Herald decided on the death penalty instead."

Death penalty? When a man shot and killed himself and all that happened to DeFede was he was fired? I'm sorry but that was totally inappropriate and I hope he is not rehired. That comment should be strike three.

Sympathy should be with the family of Arthur E. Teele Jr, not Jim DeFede.

3:20 AM  
Blogger BlogrollMeBill said...

Carl Hiaasen has no problem calling what DeFede did was illegal. Neither does the Sun Sentinel's Michael Mayo. It's gotten pretty easy to see who has ethical standards and who doesn't.

You signees figure out why journalists are held in such low regard by the general public. If you're going to use a megaphone to detail other people's faults, you better have your own crap squared away.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Tom Sowa said...

What Jim did is exactly what happened to me earlier this year. I pressed "record" on a device when I knew a source was making comments that needed to be preserved. My editors reminded me, and other staff writers, about the legal lapse, but never saw fit to penalize me.

1:45 PM  
Blogger tumpson said...

If the management of the Herald were as ethical as Jim DeFede and as committed as he to publishing news (instead of exploiting "stories"), our community would be much better served.

Joan Tumpson
Artist

1:46 PM  
Blogger BlogrollMeBill said...

Mr. Sowa, what you did is illegal in the state where you work. The editor of the Spokesman Review should have done more than wag his finger at you.

Transfer that to any other workplace and tell me you wouldn't write a story about it.

3:10 PM  
Blogger p2k said...

Wasn't it a newspaper that taught us that the lesson of Watergate wasn't the crime but the cover-up? Seems like Jim DeFede learned that lesson while The Herald didn't. I guess when Herald reporters make mistakes in the future they'll know to just keep their mouth's shut. We've come a long way, huh?

3:10 PM  
Blogger BlogrollMeBill said...

So not covering up negates the crime, huh?

I understand that when you confess to the police, they just let you go.

3:23 PM  
Blogger None said...

Please add my name to the list of those who think that the executives at The Miami Herald have acted without sufficient consideration of all of the aspects of the incident that took place involving Commissioner Teele.


To dismiss Mr. De Fede out of hand and so hastily showed how frighten the press has become of any criticism in addition to revealing that perhaps the powers that be at The Herald need more backbone than they seem to have to run a real newspaper in the cauldron of greed and corruption in which we now live.


Robert Harrison

10:16 PM  
Blogger Felix Cortes said...

It is only logical that the intolerant and irrational Cuban extreme right in Miami is celebrating The Herald attitude. After reading Defede´s accurat reporting on Cuban terrorist Posada Carriles,I see some links there.

Felix Cortes
Miami.
Columnist
MILENIO daily, Mexico City

11:02 PM  
Blogger 33133 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:36 PM  
Blogger 33133 said...

While I buy the concept of an "exigent circumstances" exemption to the normal rules of conduct, a great many “Regular Joes” are routinely punished or go to jail because their critical faculties couldn’t keep pace with rapidly moving events.

You hear all the time about some hapless loser who responded inappropriately in chaotic circumstances and punched a cop or fled an accident scene (“It all happened so fast I couldn’t think”).

So while sympathizing with Defede, I feel more compassion for all those anonymous little guys who’ve made lesser or comparable errors but didn’t have hundreds of highly literate and influential journalists to come to their defense and position their errors in the most flattering light possible.

11:39 PM  
Blogger None said...

Thank you for providing a site for journalists to
register their outrage and dismay over Jim DeFede's
firing.

First, let me say that I'm proud to see that the
Herald employees and alums that I most respect share
my outrage. Surely these folks know what an asset Jim
has been to the Herald and, more importantly, to the
entire community.

I have been an avid reader of The Herald for many
decades. (I am a Miami native, born in 1929.) In my
opinion, the best recent issues of the paper have been
the ones in which Leonard Pitts & Jim DeFede have
written. I have looked forward to reading their
opinions and have habitually turned to their columns
first, upon opening the paper. Now I wonder how fast
the current downslide in The Herald's reputation will
move.

My family and I look for progressive voices in this
community and believe that The Herald has become
entirely too conservative. We like Tom Fiedler, but
wonder if nowadays he is following the dictates of his
conscience or those of his superiors.

In sum, I am greatly distressed that a person who went
after corruption, a person of fine intellect and
insight, has been deprived of his platform. I believe
that his firing was hasty and ill-advised and that The
Herald's influence in South Florida will suffer
grievously.

Sincerely,

Betty O. Rice
Miami Springs, FL

11:43 PM  
Blogger Ninina Mameyez said...

Jim DeFede is guilty of only one thing: his head and his heart met, acted as one, and dictated his actions at a crucial moment. For whom has that not happened? Fiedler mentioned his own head vs. heart issues in his Sunday editorial. I also saw him on TV. He was fudging, trying hard. Too hard. Who--or what--is dictating his actions, I wonder? Is he--or some other equally reputable journalist--not guilty of tape recording someone in his/her past, at some unguarded moment? I seriously doubt that this is the first time it has happened in the annals of journalism. Jim got caught because he chose to get caught, because he IS honest. I bet if you asked him, he'd say he'd do it the same way, over and over again. That's when you know that you've carried through on your conscience. Bravo!

12:23 AM  
Blogger None said...

Via email:


>
> While I am not a professional journalist, I have
> written a few articles on occasion and understand
> some of the tenets of journalism. (Google Rob
> Boyte) Even argued a few points with Tom Fiedler in
> the past, about journalistic ethics.
>
> I consider myself an ethical person, but know that
> you cannot be absolute as Mr. Feidler claims to be.
> We are always making compromises and have to
> determine where those lines are.
>
> I think DeFede was dealt with too abruptly and too
> harshly. His lapse, or mistake, was not a fireable
> offense, as so many here have obviously concurred.
> So, is Mr. Fiedler more ethical than all the
> collective voices here?
>
> I think he should reconsider his brash treatment of
> a loyal and conscientious journalist.
>
> Rob Boyte
>
>
> Rob Boyte
> roboyte@earthlink.net

12:24 AM  
Blogger Eduardo said...

I'm really sorry. You are talking with your heart.
Do you think everybody must be judged by his friends or colleagues?
It is illegal to make secret audio tape recordings. (F.S. 934.03)
The simple act of recording is a crime. DeFede surely knew it was illegal.
You are not allowed to act or decide as a judge not even as a lawyer.
Justice will do his job.
We are talking about a person who was fired for that reason. Ethics.
Being fired or not have been fired is only a personal and exclusive decision of the Miami Herald, his employer.
It is simple.
Poor people that who do not have the opportunity to set a website blog and have been fired just for an inopportune look . Ethics!
Mr. DeFede acted as an ignorant or was attempting to success. This is the price.
Good Luck!

12:58 AM  
Blogger C.L. Jahn said...

>BlogrollMeBill said...
>
> Carl Hiaasen has no problem
> calling what DeFede did was
> illegal. Neither does the Sun
> Sentinel's Michael Mayo. It's
> gotten pretty easy to see who has
> ethical standards and who doesn't.

Carl Hiaasen nor Michael Mayo are entitled to their opinion: but note that the Prosecutor's opinion holds more water, and HE doesn't think Defede broke the law.

Hell, I'm not a journalist, but I can't see how you can do the job without recording conversations. Without some kind of objective documentation, the spoken word is just hear-say.

Chew on this: it is a crime in most places for a reporter to refuse to divulge their sources to law enforcment. As long as we're slapping down Jim with the so-called moral high ground, we have to string up any reporter who was refused to divulge their source to law enforcement as well.

Frankly, I'd rather trust a reporter who tapes his phone conversations than one who does not. And I'd rather support the reporter who catches his mistake BEFORE he goes to print and who owns up to his mistakes BEFORE anyone even has a chance to catch wind of the mistake than an editor who fires someone in the heat of the moment and blurts it out all over the place.

1:14 AM  
Blogger Jack Thompson said...

am not a journalist, but I am a conservative lawyer who is in the news (60 Minutes last month and the current Reader's Digest), and I support Jim DeFede and condemn the actions of Tom Fiedler and the other execs at the Herald who stabbed this excellent journalist in the back. In addition to what other's have said and written, let me add this legal analysis, which I have shared personally with Jim on the phone:

There is a body of law called "the law of necessity." It stands for the proposition, embodied in actual case law, that necessity trumps any statute and any ethics consideration if a greater good is served by the breach of the law or the rule. For example, running red lights to get a man bleeding to death to the hospital is not a crime. It is an act of necessity. Emergency trumps Miss Manners any day.

Similarly, Jim knew there was something terribly wrong with Teele. He felt the personality collapse was so severe that he reflexively recorded what he was hearing. Guess what? Jim was right, was he not? The subsequent events prove the reasonableness of Jim's decision and in fact the necessity of Jim's acting on his own hunch.

Who knows? The tape might have been indispensable evidence in a Baker Act proceeding to get Teele help.

I get a kick out of a guy, Tom Fiedler, who is known down here as "Peeping Tom" firing a guy after Tom came to national prominence violating criminal trespassing laws hiding in the bushes surrounding Senator Gary Hart's home to catch Donna Rice coming out the door. What's next? Is Tom going to fire any Herald journalist interested in some politican's sex life?

Jack Thompson, Attorney, Miami, Florida

7:44 AM  
Blogger Jack Thompson said...

am not a journalist, but I am a conservative lawyer who is in the news (60 Minutes last month and the current Reader's Digest), and I support Jim DeFede and condemn the actions of Tom Fiedler and the other execs at the Herald who stabbed this excellent journalist in the back. In addition to what other's have said and written, let me add this legal analysis, which I have shared personally with Jim on the phone:

There is a body of law called "the law of necessity." It stands for the proposition, embodied in actual case law, that necessity trumps any statute and any ethics consideration if a greater good is served by the breach of the law or the rule. For example, running red lights to get a man bleeding to death to the hospital is not a crime. It is an act of necessity. Emergency trumps Miss Manners any day.

Similarly, Jim knew there was something terribly wrong with Teele. He felt the personality collapse was so severe that he reflexively recorded what he was hearing. Guess what? Jim was right, was he not? The subsequent events prove the reasonableness of Jim's decision and in fact the necessity of Jim's acting on his own hunch.

Who knows? The tape might have been indispensable evidence in a Baker Act proceeding to get Teele help.

I get a kick out of a guy, Tom Fiedler, who is known down here as "Peeping Tom" firing a guy after Tom came to national prominence violating criminal trespassing laws hiding in the bushes surrounding Senator Gary Hart's home to catch Donna Rice coming out the door. What's next? Is Tom going to fire any Herald journalist interested in some politican's sex life?

Jack Thompson, Attorney, Miami, Florida

7:44 AM  
Blogger Walter Lippmann said...

Comment from Radio Miami
El Duende ("The Goblin")

The firing of the much-read Miami Herald columnist Jim Defede, decided by the publisher, Cuban Jesús Díaz, claiming that the journalist had illegally taped a telephone call from former commissioner, Arthur Teele before his suicide. The unease of the Herald journalist team with his sudden dismissal promoted a protest movement that is the culture medium for the union that protects the rights of workers and journalists who, up to now, had no protection against unfair and arbitrary measures by the Miami Herald. What is doing the rounds in the hallways is that Jim Defede, was in the cross hairs, not because of Arthur Teele who was his friend, but because of his articles on the terrorist Posada Carrilles. These were strongly criticized by the Cuban Miami extreme right who defended the intellectual author of the Barbados airline bombing. The environment has gotten so hot at the Herald that even talking about the arbitrary firing of the star journalist by the staff, is forbidden. The only one talking about the case is the Cuban, Jesús Díaz who gave the order to shuck the journalist out into the street. The mess is much more serious than Defede himself. We for our part will continue to inform.

SPANISH AND ENGLISH AVAILABLE:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/message/40663

9:22 AM  
Blogger james H said...

Good job with the petition and blog. I just wrote about your efforts at FloridapolitiX.com.

You can read the article at http://floridapolitix.blogspot.com/2005/08/defending-defede.html

Keep up the good work!

10:34 AM  
Blogger Professors Gone Wild said...

The comment by Radio Miami's "El Duende," is the pseudonym for Max Lesnik Menendez, who in Feb. 1980 was publicly accused by the Rev.Manuel Espinosa of being a Castro intelligence agent.
In 1959, Lesnik coined the phrase "Cuba si, Yankee no." He is an activist for lifting the embargo on Cuba and like DeFede, his articles are published in Cuba's official media.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Gail Messler said...

This remark may be a tad morbid and thank God it did not happen but...
What if Art Teele had decided to take a few Herald employees with him? Do you think Jim Defede would have been a hero for taping the call?

12:01 PM  
Blogger None said...

Via e-mail:

It becomes clearer and clearer, upon reading Newsweek and USA Today, that Defede was lynched by the publisher in order to calm down the angry fans of Teele. Diaz, not Fiedler, fired the columnist.
This management behavior is aberrant from the normal procedures of metro journalism in this country as well as KRN. Is this the message San Jose wants to send to all its newspapers?
I sincerely suggest that all of the Miami Herald's journalism prize winners, past and present, request that their award trophies and plaques be removed immediately from the newspaper's trophy case. And just leave the places in the case blank.
This firing is a stain of the newspaper and must be resisted by the consciences of Herald journalists, past and present.

Will D. Jarrett

Former executive editor, Denver Post and Dallas Times Herald
Former ME, Philadelphia Inquirer
Founder and co-owner of Westward Communications (holding company of a group of 42 small newspapers in Southwest)
Former editor, Miami Herald's Tropic Magazine

12:23 PM  
Blogger None said...

The Herald was a much better paper when it stood by its people no matter what.
Alan Prince
university lecturer (and Herald alum)

1:10 PM  
Blogger BlogrollMeBill said...

I'm confused. Was he fired because of the Hispanics or was it because of the blacks?

"The Herald should stand by its reporters no matter what."
I guess obeying the law is only for the little people, not for you important, important, journalists.

Figure out why the public doesn't trust you.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Ninina Mameyez said...

My email to Jim was returned. However, I want to put it out there. Thanks for reading.

Subj: This Cuban-American stands behind you.
Date: 8/1/2005 5:10:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Escritora1
To: jdefede@herald.com



Jim,

I know you're swamped with emails, but I just wanted you to know I stand behind you, and I apologize for the rabid tone of some of my fellow countrymen (and women). I hate to say it, but some Cubans just don't know any better.

My foreign-born mother always used to say: "When the Republic of Cuba was established, its first President stated, 'Now we have our republic, but where are our citizens?'"

She grew into the rabid phase, herself, as did I, although to a lesser extent. Younger, I'm hopefully more malleable.

You know by now that even little Cuban-American kids are being taught to consider Posada Carriles a hero...

Ostrich that I am, I just became aware of your 6-19-05 commentary. Pretty fair, I thought. Wry, humorous, punctuated with irony at pitch perfect moments.

Objective, under the circumstances.

Not the comments of someone foaming at the mouth, I hope?

The word is that this is what really sank you. If so, it doesn't portray "my people" in a very good light.

You're not the first journalist to tape-record someone off the record, and you won't be the last.

You were just honest about it, that's all. Good for you!

I predict you'll be reinstated at The Herald before Fiedler and Diaz get too much more egg on their faces.

The question is: will you return?

All the best,
Escritora 1

5:16 PM  
Blogger Professors Gone Wild said...

CUBAN COMMUNIST MEDIA CONTINUES TO DEFEND DEFEDE SAYING HE WAS "CRUCIFIED BY JESUS"

http://www.cubadebate.cu/index.php?
tpl=opinionshow¬iciaid=5336¬i
ciafecha=2005-08-01&t=Portada

7:24 PM  
Blogger todd said...

I applaud your efforts, I really do. And I hope you are successful in having DeFede reinstated. Unfortunately, that will never happen.

After 13 years in the news business, I can honestly say that management nevetr gives a flying $#%^ what its employees think. They do what they want for their own reasons. And they will never show weakness.

To me, reinstating DeFede would show strength because they'll have really seen the impetuousness of their decision. But they'll see it as caving.

They'll never hire him back.

7:29 PM  
Blogger C.L. Jahn said...

todd said:
> To me, reinstating DeFede would
> show strength because they'll have
> really seen the impetuousness of
> theirdecision. But they'll see it
> as caving.
>
>They'll never hire him back.

Then the obvious solution is to can Diaz and Feidler: no one here in Miami would weep. They took a great paper and made it into today's HERALD.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

The reason of the firing of DeFede is pretty obvious.

It reminds me of the current administration using 911 as a pretext to launch their so-called "war on terror (which has now apparently changed names)"...

They want to get rid of one of the most critical voices in the newspaper (just like they did with Max Castro a few months ago, to give us more CA Montaner), regarding issues such as corruption, foreign policy and of course the sacrosanct Cuba issue.

These are the people who want to lecture us on freedom of the press in Cuba... I wonder what the Interamerican Press Society or Reporters without borders have to say, since they are so worried about these issues...

I suspect that his critical views on our current Cuba policy, and perhaps the interview in which the Cuban Foreign Minister clearly explained some of DeFede's tough questions, might also have had something to do.

Let's make our views known to The Herald and Knight Ridder.

Carlos Morales-Mateluna
Philadelphia, PA

11:54 PM  
Blogger feelgood inc. said...

Just goes to show what a bunch of cand y ass momma's boys the entire field of journalism is made up of. Like your little petition puts you at any risk or will do a damn bit of good. It's the equivalent of a mass junk mailing. There's safety in a group thought crime.

1:27 AM  
Blogger J. DuBois said...

Most of those leaving comments on this blog go out of their way to actually write a dissent, as compared to those who simply write their names at the bottom of the letter.

The letter is nothing other than journalists covering each other up in the wake of unethical and illegal practice. This attitude is one more reason for the public to distrust you newsmakers, who fail to support action against one of your own for criminal conduct.

If you don't like the law - change it through the legal process. In the meantime, abide by it, as do we who don't have the ability to blackmail through the power of the press.

6:58 AM  
Blogger Professors Gone Wild said...

DEFEDE'S BIASED JOURNALISM
Carlos Morales-Mateluna of Philadelphia thinks that DeFede had "tough questions" for Cuba's foreign minister Ricardo Alarcon.
In fact, while DeFede supports the extradition of Luis Posada, he "forgot" to ask Alarcon about two Puerto Rican terrorist fugitives in Cuba, William Morales and Victor Gerena, or advocate for their extradition to the U.S.
DeFede has also been advocating that Carlos Lazo, a U.S. soldier be allowed by the U.S. government to visit his family in Cuba. Yet, he "forgot" to ask Alarcon why Cuba does not allow Lazo's family to visit him in the U.S., the same as Elian Gonzalez's family came here. The Alarcon interview was a classic example of selective journalism.
DeFede was trying to be the Michael Moore of journalism, but failed.
Unless Jesus Diaz and Tom Fiedler resign from the Herald, which is highly unlikely, DeFede will not be reinstated.
This petition and all the bleeding heart comments are mental masturbation for DeFede as he heads for the unemployment office.

10:59 AM  
Blogger 33133 said...

Just one last observation re: Defede.

First, I repeat. I wouldn't have fired him.

BUT....the fact that Jim had a tape recorder already attached to his home phone and that he simply had to push "record" to activate it makes it clear that this was not the first time he recorded a phone conversation. Let's assume he did it to spare himself the tedium of taking notes. Fair enough.

Let's also assume he is not completely unethical and routinely asked permission before activating the recorder.

The fact that he did not do this with Teele demonstrates that he was completely aware of what he was doing at the time he did it and was totally aware it was wrong.

If you're OK with this, fine!

12:41 PM  
Blogger Brad Shalt said...

Miami Harald is a sham News Paper used to setting up new reporters - i call them lunch bucket reporters - this so-called reporter DeFede was another Miami Harald disgrace one of many - anyone that reads the newspaper knows that what they are reading is censored and has to pass the Miami Haralds croni network - news reporters for the Miami Harold are screened to make sure they are extreem rightest - ture enought the Maimi Harold is a Racist Press to the 10th degree.

1:57 PM  
Blogger NewsGirls said...

I tend to agree with the E&P article on the firing of DeFede, which emphasizes:
"The statute also states that 'consent is not required for the taping' of someone 'who does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.' "
(clearing throat) I don't know about you but I certainly think that a former government official under scrutiny by both Federal and State level investigations should not "have a reasonable expectation of privacy"...especially when they are speaking with a political reporter for the regions more dominant media.
I also tend to think that the Herald has a skewed concept of journalism, I say this because of their decision to not back one of their strongest columnist during a moment of bad judgement (in the midst of the Novak/Miller fiasco) and simultaneously publishing a graffic image of Mr. Teele while he lay dying on their lobby floor. (p.s. - most everyone saw the images that night on the t.v. news - it really was not necessary to convey the story)

Lastly I think the editorial/management ring at the Herald should realize that their readers do have another viable source of print media for daily news, (not to mention for marketing/advertising needs) and very possibly one that could rather easily swallow up their market. If I were at their helm I would not make such short sighted and hasty decisions....

4:54 PM  
Blogger Professors Gone Wild said...

PRO-CASTRO ACTIVIST JOURNALISTS DEFEND DEFEDE
Three pro-Castro activist Cuban American journalists, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (L.A. Times), Francisco G[Gonzalez] Aruca (Radio Progreso, Miami), and Albor Ruiz Zalazar (N.Y. Dily News), have signed the petition in favor of returning DeFede to the Miami Herald.
Alonso is the son of Luis Ricardo Alonso, a Spaniard who was Castro’s former Ambassador to Peru, Norway, and Great Britain. His grandfater, Manuel Zaldivar, was a magistrate in Camaguey. In December 1977, Alonso-Zaldivar was founder of the pro-Castro Antonio Maceo Brigade, with whom he traveled to Cuba to voluntarily work on government building construction programs. He also wrote for the pro-Castro publications “Areito” and “Baragua.”
Francisco M. Gonzalez Aruca, born on August 30, 1940, fled a Castro prison in 1962 dressed as a woman. In April 1974 he was a founder of the pro-Castro magazine “Areito” and later joined the Antonio Maceo Brigade. In December 1978 he participated in the so-called “dialogue” with Fidel Castro. As a result, the Cuban regime rewarded him with the operation of the travel agencies Cuba Travel in Washington, D.C. and Marazul Tours in New York City. In July 1983, Captain Jesus Perez Mendez, a defector of Castro’s Directorate General of Intelligence (DGI), denounced Aruca as a DGI operative. Since the 1990s, Aruca has been defending the Castro dictatorship on his radio program in Miami.
Albor Ruiz Zalazar was born in Cardenas, Cuba, in 1940. His father was grocer and a political prisoner under Castro. This prompted Ruiz, who had converted to Catholicism and studied for the priesthood, to join the Student Revolutionary Directorate (DRE) with whom on August 23, 1962 he participated in an armed attack against the Blanquita Hotel on the Havana waterfront. Ruiz, hiding his own past, now denounces Luis Posada as a “terrorist.” In April 1974, Ruiz was a founder of the pro-Castro magazine “Areito” and later joined the Antonio Maceo Brigade. In 1978 he participated in the so-called “dialogue” with Fidel Castro. A year later he was appointed executive director of the “Committee of 75" to represent Cuban emigres before the Castro regime. On February 1, 1980, the Rev. Manuel Espinosa publicly denounced Ruiz at a press conference in Miami as being a paid Castro agent. Three years later, DGI defector Captain Jesus Perez Mendez stated that the DGI considered Ruiz “unstable” because of personal weaknesses.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Isaida said...

My most appreciative thanks are sent out to all who signed the letter.
Isaida

11:32 AM  
Blogger revoltingpeasant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:36 PM  
Blogger revoltingpeasant said...

I've already written my thoughts about the knee-jerk firing of Jim DeFede. Miami Herald executives made mistake in taking such a Draconian measure for such a petty infraction (if it actually was an infraction).

But I don't fault the Herald leadership for one decision they made: running the bloody photo of Arthur Teele on the front page.

Teele committed suicide in the most public of ways. It's naive to think his death should have been covered in any other manner. The argument that the Herald didn't need to publish photos so graphic in light of the fact that Miami folks could see the same images on their local TV news channel is laughable.

The tragedy occurred in a newspaper lobby. Outrage at the fact that the newspaper covered it is ridiculous.

That said, the decision of Diaz and Fiedler to fire DeFede was still wrong.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Julio said...

Beautiful column by Ana Menendez from today's Miami Herald. It merits to be posted.


Posted on Wed, Aug. 03, 2005

IN MY OPINION

Herald acted too quickly in firing DeFede

BY ANA MENENDEZ
amenendez@herald.com

As fan letters go, this was one to warm the heart and banish whatever jitters I was nursing as I rounded the strangest and saddest opening week I've ever had at a new job.

''DeFede, Hiaasen, and Pitts. . . . That is what makes the Herald interesting,'' my gentle reader wrote, putting me unambiguously in the category of not-interesting. ``They just fired one, who is next? Don't worry, it won't be you.''

It was such a relief to read that last sentence, because I was beginning to have my doubts about what exactly I had gotten myself into.

It's been a week since The Herald fired columnist Jim DeFede for taping his final telephone conversation with Art Teele without permission. A colleague's dismissal is always hard; that it took place on such an unfathomable night left many stunned.

A few days before I started at The Herald, Jim bought me lunch at Soyka, regaled me with his stories and said he couldn't think of a better job in the world than to be a columnist in this city.

An institution is bound to uphold the law and its principles, but The Herald acted too quickly to fire Jim before extenuating circumstances could be weighed. A newspaper distinguishes itself by its ability to temper judgment with understanding and by standing by its people. In both instances, The Herald failed Jim.

Jim will recover. He's a household name across the country now. Will The Herald recover?

In rushing to dismiss Jim, the paper has unwittingly set off a small storm of conspiracy theories, resentment and suspicion.

'The Herald has this `guilt trip' about Teele shooting himself in their building,'' wrote the fan who kindly assured me my own job was secure.

``The first thing they do to placate the black community is to fire DeFede.''

Noel Lanzas won't call Jim's firing a conspiracy, but finds it hard to believe the tough subjects he took on didn't influence the decision to dismiss him. ''Apparently Jim DeFede had a lot to say about the Cuban community that they didn't like,'' said Lanzas, who was out with his dog at Flamingo Park Tuesday morning. ``They hold a grudge.''

Over the last few days I've heard from friends who've heard from friends who just know that DeFede was really fired for going to Havana, criticizing Luis Posada Carriles, attacking Knight Ridder (The Herald's parent company), disturbing influential developers. . . .

It's unfair to expect a paper to answer for all the myriad things people will believe. And corporations, no less than individuals, cannot make moral decisions based on public opinion. But in this case, maybe the reason for so much speculation is that, for once, many Miamians have found something to agree on: 'There must be a more compelling reason for Jim's firing that `they' are not telling us about.''

I, for one, believe that the real reason The Herald fired Jim is the reason his editors gave: He taped a conversation without first getting permission, something we all had understood was against the rules. I talked to Jim Tuesday and he said as much: ``I don't believe there was a conspiracy here.''

Jim has admitted his mistake. And no one can argue that there isn't something disturbing about what he did.

The question is whether Jim's action rises to the level of a crime under Florida law. Theoretically, it may; technically, it may not. Either way, journalists are not ones to parse meaning when it's a question of someone else's mistake, which is the one discordant note I find in the outcry from the journalism community, a group of people not normally known for an ability to distinguish shades of ambiguity. We should have as much compassion for the people we cover as we do for the people we work with. Or not.

The only times I averted my gaze from Jim's columns were when he used an unsparing moral tone to judge the failings of others. It is unfortunate that the same zero-tolerance approach has stripped Jim of the job he loved and robbed Herald readers of a voice that will be difficult to replace.

© 2005 Herald.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Carlos Pittella said...

Please, add my name:
Carlos Pittella (ex Diario Las Americas, CBS Telenoticias and International Football Channel)

1:44 AM  
Blogger Julio said...

More on the DeFede Affair.
To help you understand the dynamic in Miami, confusing, delusional, hallucinating, but a beautiful and wanderful city.

PROGRESSO WEEKLY

August 4, 2005

Teele, DeFede, and a tale of 2 cities: Miami Nice, Miami Vise

By Max J. Castro

On the morning of the day Arthur Teele killed himself in the lobby of The Miami Herald and the paper fired its star muckraker Jim DeFede, the front page featured a new columnist. Ana Menendez is a Cuban-American journalist and novelist whose initial editorial contribution to the Herald centered on a rooster, an octogenarian Miami Cuban sculptor, and the writer’s celebration of the city and its newspaper:

I've returned to an enchanted place, both familiar and strange, a place where ID cards magically open parking lots and turnstiles, cameras work without film, and reporters sit in hygienic gray cubicles.

…And there are few cities more generous with its characters than Miami.

… I can think of no finer place to be a columnist than in Miami, Fla., writing for the paper that first taught me how to observe and record. And it is my honor now to set up shop in my own local precinct, which happens to be the only city in the world that contains the earthly remains of both Anastasio Somoza and Jackie Gleason, and where a rooster named Pepe can find solace and everlasting mercy amid plaster casts of José Martí.

By the next day, magical realism had given way to noir, and the paper’s front page featured a photo of Arthur Teele sprawled on the floor of the Herald building, his head in a pool of blood. Wednesday morning’s festive, folkloric take on Miami was overtaken by the night’s events, which lay bare another side of the city, an ugly and brutal one, and the reality of real power versus the purported power of the pen. The real city, in other words, the one Jim DeFede chronicled, relentlessly and with brutal honesty, until being fired supposedly for committing a legal and ethical misdemeanor: secretly recording a conversation with a suicidal Arthur Teele.

The Teele suicide and the DeFede dismissal invite reflection far beyond the events themselves. They belie the Miami Nice fable, the city as a cast of colorful and endearing characters, suggesting darker readings: Miami Vice, Miami Vise.

The Teele tragedy is not a story about “Another Black Man Done in by Media and the Establishment,” as some would like to portray it. It is a tale about the equal opportunity, gloriously multicultural and immensely seductive nature of our corruption. It’s the one area in which we in Miami have achieved absolute parity. Arrogance and greed, your name is Humberto Hernández, Demetrio Pérez, Howard Gary, Cesar Odio, Alex Daoud, Miriam Alonso, Alberto Gutman, Miller Dawkins, Jimmy Burke, Donald Warshaw, Dan Paul and…Arthur Teele, may he rest in peace. Black and white, Anglo and Latino, Jew and Gentile, there are no barriers to misfeasance and malfeasance here, no need for affirmative action or set-asides where graft is concerned.

“Greed is good,” proclaimed Gordon Gekko, a character in the 1987 movie “Wall Street.” “Greed is God,” Miami seems to proclaim, sometimes bilingually as in a television commercial which affirms: “Aquí lo que cuenta es el cash.” It’s cash that really counts, and the divinity of greed is never as clearly evidenced as when the corporate overseers of the city’s newspaper hire, successively, a businessmen and a bean counter, to run a journalistic operation, the better to ensure the one supreme priority, the making of obscene levels of profit in order to please God in the guise of Wall Street – the real one.

The cash indeed; the propensity to subordinate ethical values to monetary ones is not confined to city hall, corporate suites or establishment law firms, but seems to have contaminated much of the water supply or perhaps, given that many of the infected seem to drink only bottled liquids, the air. “I can’t date that man,” an attractive young woman with thousands of dollars worth of clothes, shoes and accessories on and about her person, was overheard saying to another in a local watering hole. “He drives the cheap Mercedes.”

If Arthur Teele, by inclination, contagion or both succumbed to the temptations of Miami Vice, then Jim DeFede may have been done in by another but arguably more pernicious local malady: Miami Vise. That’s a condition in which those who dare dissent from the official line on Cuba are – depending on decade, context, and ethnicity – blown up, shot dead, fired, denied job opportunities, demoted, pushed out of leadership roles, silenced, censored, harassed, stigmatized, vilified, marginalized, threatened, intimidated, smeared, hounded, ostracized, persecuted, and crushed.

How coincidental and convenient that Jim DeFede was fired from the Herald shortly after daring to step out of his usual local muckraker role to write a series of columns – collectively the best of his career – in which he denounced the alleged crimes of an exile terrorist, described the suffering of the victims, and exposed the hypocrisy of Cuban-American members of Congress who constantly cry out about some forms of terrorism while advocating for the perpetrators of other acts of terror? Did DeFede’s taping blunder, his honesty, and his naïve trust in his bosses provide the perfect pretext for getting rid of a columnist who had stepped out of his assigned niche and whose recent columns regarding Cuban issues had provoked a firestorm of reaction from the guardians of ideological orthodoxy on Cuba and the self-appointed protectors of the community’s feelings?

Coincidence or conspiracy, suspicion regarding the Herald’s motives is warranted given its recent track record of systematically tacking to the right on Cuba and bending over backwards to ingratiate itself even with the hardest-line exile sectors. Personal experience demonstrates that it would not be the first time a Herald columnist was eliminated for the sin of ideological incorrectness regarding the third rail of Miami politics – Cuba – and for irritating too frequently those whose power is exceeded only by their passion and punitive bent when it comes to those who don’t toe the line on the issue.

Raking the muck and randomly turning up what is foul there is one thing, useful, important, but not threatening. A systematic, sustained critique of a mentality, a power structure and a policy is something else. Jim DeFede wanted to be Jimmy Breslin but he was beginning to look too much like I.F. Stone. That made him an uncomfortable presence, and that might have made the decision to let him go because of a relative minor transgression that much easier.

Whatever the truth, rumors emanating from inside the Herald as well as circumstantial evidence suggest that there was unease at the top about DeFede’s trespassing into mined territory. Indeed, it looks likely the new Menendez column – which some of the more conspiracy-minded think was intended to replace DeFede’s slot even in the absence of the Teele taping controversy – was intended instead as a counterpoint to DeFede, not a replacement, a regular salve for those Cubans offended by critiques like DeFede’s but who still read The Miami Herald. Personal experience suggests that is the kind of solution top editors at the Herald, caught between the preferences of different communities, the exigencies of journalistic excellence and integrity versus marketing and pandering to passionate publics, and the contradictory roles of promoters of the city and reporters of its reality, might reach for initially, absent an excuse for a dismissal. Present such a pretext or, in circumstances when termination can be accomplished without explanation or justification – I speak from experience – the calculus can be different. The fact that, according to DeFede’s statements, his bosses initially indicated he could stay, and apparently even consented to him writing a column on the conversations with Teele, raises additional suspicions.

The wave of protest by journalists, including many within the Herald itself, over DeFede’s firing, is a good thing yet not likely to change the outcome. But it should at the very least mark the beginning of a new era of critical and systematic scrutiny of one of the most powerful and least accountable institutions in Miami.

http://www.progresoweekly.com

Copyright 2005© Progreso Weekly, Inc.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Julio said...

"Give the man his job back".

The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Aug. 05, 2005

IN MY OPINION

DeFede made mistake, but should keep job

BY LEONARD PITTS JR.
lpitts@herald.com

I hope this column is outdated by the time you read it.

Ordinarily, it is the bane of a columnist's existence, the fear that his words will become obsolete between the time of his writing and your reading. But in this case, that would be the happiest possible outcome, because it would mean Jim DeFede had his job back.

That he lost it in the first place is a travesty.

You know the story by now. Wednesday of last week DeFede, metro columnist for The Herald, took a call from a friend, former Miami City Commissioner Arthur E. Teele Jr. Already under indictment on numerous corruption charges, Teele was facing further humiliation from the imminent publication of an article in The Miami New Times that alleged dealings with drug dealers, crooked contractors and transvestite prostitutes.

DeFede was worried about Teele; his friend sounded on the verge of cracking up. So he quietly hit the record button on his tape recorder. There should be a record of this conversation, he thought. They talked for 25 minutes.

A little later, Teele called again. Moments after this second call, he shot himself to death in The Herald's lobby. Hours later, DeFede was out of work.

Herald Executive Editor Tom Fiedler and Publisher Jesús Díaz Jr. say they fired DeFede because it is a violation of Florida law -- and journalistic ethics -- to tape a phone conversation without the consent of both parties. The argument is not convincing.

It is unclear whether DeFede actually did break the law -- I've seen conflicting assessments -- though if he did, it's probably a misdemeanor at best.

But the law is not the point. New York Times reporter Judith Miller has run afoul of the law -- she's in jail for contempt of court after refusing to identify an anonymous source -- and many journalists regard her as a hero. So the simple fact of being on a court or a cop's bad side is hardly defacto proof that one is unfit for duty as a reporter.

As for ethics: What DeFede did was certainly a violation of journalistic standards. He deserved punishment. But he didn't deserve this punishment.

Fiedler has said that any action short of firing would have sent the message that The Herald ''tolerates'' unethical behavior. I'm at a loss to understand how anyone could have taken that message from suspending DeFede and requiring a public apology as a condition of his return to work.

The message sent by DeFede's firing is not one of intolerance for unethical behavior, but rather, one of robotic absolutism, the same unthinking tendency toward one-size-fits-all punishment that characterizes school principals who suspend children for bringing aspirin to school because it's a violation of zero tolerance drug policies.

Put it another way. Suppose I kill somebody. Let's say I plot a murder for financial gain. Or shoot an unfaithful lover in a jealous rage. Or accidentally run down a pedestrian who jumps out in front of my car.

In all three cases, the end result is the same: Somebody dies. But the law treats the deaths differently, mandates a different range of responses to each in recognition that the varying circumstances demand it. You don't give the death penalty to someone who strikes down a careless pedestrian. You don't give probation to a cold-blooded killer.

It is that recognition, that ability to weigh mitigating factors and come to reasonable conclusions that is so conspicuously missing from The Herald's treatment of DeFede. In a moment of great stress, he broke the rules. He did so not from malice, laziness or a desire to hurt anyone. He owned up to his error.

And he gets fired?

There was no shortage of bad decisions that awful Wednesday night. Art Teele made the first and the worst. Then DeFede made one, followed by The Herald. But only one can be reversed, and it should be.

Give the man his job back.

© 2005 Herald.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Julio said...

Comments by TIME Online Edition Nation

Thursday, Aug. 04, 2005

A Suicide and a Dismissal

Journalists rally around a columnist in Miami even as his employers dispute a promise of 'support' for his role in secretly audiotaping a Florida official about to kill himself

By SIOBHAN MORRISSEY/MIAMI

Within minutes of his conversation with former Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr., Miami Herald columnist Jim DeFede realized his friend, who was deep in the middle of legal problems and a criminal probe, was in great distress. DeFede instinctively pressed the record button on the tape recorder by his home phone.

“When Art called me it wasn't unusual to hear him want to vent and talk about what was going on in his life and politics in general,” DeFede says as he describes in detail what transpired the night Teele fatally shot himself in the Herald lobby — and the events leading up to DeFede being fired hours later. “As we started to talk I became alarmed because I was hearing something in Art's voice that I hadn't heard before — frustration, but more than frustration, almost defeatism.”

“It honestly scared me a little,” he says. “I had never heard Art almost in tears as the way he was on the phone. I just wasn't thinking about whether it was right or wrong, legal or not. I was hearing someone coming unhinged. There was a tape recorder by my phone. I just turned it on. I wasn't doing that because I thought that was going to be a story.”

He says he recorded the conversation much the way one would an emergency police call. That decision however would lead his employers at the Herald to fire him in the latest controversy to roil American journalism this year. In Florida, it is illegal to tape conversations unless both parties agree. But, says DeFede, “My decision to tape him was instantaneous — to keep a record of a call almost like you do with 911. I didn't even think about telling him. It was just a matter of wanting to listen to what he had to say and not interrupt him to tell him about the tape. It was not whether it was right or wrong or what are the rules. I just thought instinctively it was something to be preserved.”

Although Teele faced more than two dozen counts of public corruption, his main concern was how his sex life was being played out in various stories that appeared on the Internet, DeFede says.

“His main concern was that he was considered a homosexual, that there was a transvestite in jail who was making these allegations and prosecutors had taken those allegations and released them to the public,” DeFede says. “Art was devastated by this. Art was talking to me about the impact this was having on his adult son whose mother had just passed away, how the ministers in the black churches would not defend him if he was homosexual.”

Throughout their 20-minute conversation, DeFede says, he tried to steer the conversation to less volatile subjects in the hopes of lifting Teele's spirits. “Again, he's got the saddest voice I've ever heard of with Art,” DeFede says. “I tried to move onto a different subject — his upcoming trial on the bribery case and he had a good attorney.” But that line of conversation only prompted Teele to think about how he didn't have any money to pay his attorney fees. “‘I'm dead in the water; I'm dead in the water,'” DeFede recalls Teele telling him. “He went back to talking about the homosexual stuff and again I tried to change the subject.”

At one point, DeFede offered to write a column about Teele's woes. “I said, ‘Art, do you want me to talk about how the prosecutors were releasing the homosexual allegations to destroy you with the black ministers?'” DeFede recalls. “I will do a column on that. And he said, ‘No.' I was saying not all your avenues are closed. If you want to fight, fight.”

He tried to steer his friend to a neutral topic, asking about a community project in Overtown, a predominantly black neighborhood in Miami, and story ideas for his column. “Where the conversation started in a very emotional way, with him almost crying, we had moved to where Art was on an even keel. I took that as a good sign. As the conversation came to an end, he said, ‘Jim, I thank you for your kindness.' He said on the tape, ‘You are one of the only reporters I trust. You are one of the few people I trust.'”

The called ended with DeFede telling Teele to tell his wife, Stephanie, hello from him. That was at 5:10 p.m. on July 27. Forty-two minutes later, Teele called DeFede again, this time from the Herald lobby. “He said I have a package here for you,” DeFede recalls. “We were talking about that project in Overtown. He said I have some things that you should see. I wasn't recording this conversation. I could tell he was not emotional. I even asked him, ‘Do you want me to come down and pick it up?'”

Teele told the columnist it could wait until DeFede showed up at the newspaper the next day. “Ten minutes later, I got a call that Art had shot himself in the lobby,” DeFede says. “I was trembling,” he says. “My hands started shaking. While I was concerned about Art, I thought it had moved past the crisis stage.”

Meanwhile, his colleagues at the Herald feared for DeFede's safety. The reporter who had called him at home with the news of the suicide immediately transferred DeFede to Herald publisher, Jesus Diaz Jr. “I think there was some ridiculous speculation that he had come to the Herald to shoot me. The publisher wanted to reassure me that I was okay.”

DeFede told Diaz he was “shaky because Art was a friend.” At that point, he says, he decided to tell Diaz that he taped his second-to-last conversation with Teele without apprising him of the recording. “And I'm looking down at the tape,” he says, “this was his suicide note. This was his way of letting me know that it was too much. I honestly believe that Art trusted me to call me one last time. You're the one reporter in Miami I trust to tell my story. I think that is exactly what he wanted me to do, his final words that he gave for me to pass on. I can't think of any other reason why he wanted to tell me.”

But still, the recording DeFede made of their conversation posed a problem, he says. “There are rules. I didn't realize it when I did it. Now I'm thinking, what do I do with this tape.. I told the publisher and attorney I've got this tape. I know I'm not supposed to tape, but I have it.” That's when Herald attorney Robert Beatty, who was on speaker phone with Diaz, questioned DeFede more closely about the tape. DeFede says the attorney asked him why he recorded the conversation, whether he had “malicious intent” or did it out of “concern” for Teele. DeFede says the attorney assured him everything would be alright. “There are privacy concerns and legal concerns, but I think they are remote,” DeFede recalls the attorney telling him. “But the Herald will support you,” the attorney added. “Absolutely, absolutely,” echoed the publisher, DeFede recalls. Diaz, however, says the taping was such a critical issue that no such blanket support was possible. He denies such a promise was made. “What we told him is 'Jim, we need to get you your own attorney'“, and that the Herald would support him when it came to paying for legal advice. Diaz also denies that he signed off on DeFede doing what he did next: transcribing the tape. “He must be remembering incorrectly,” says Diaz. “If I had to tell him again, I would tell him don't even think about it.”

While DeFede was in the midst of transcription, the executives at the Herald were holding a transcontinental conversation with Executive Editor Tom Fiedler, who was in San Jose, California at the annual meeting of the editors of the Knight Ridder chain, of which the Herald is a part. Says Fiedler, “I was called out of the meeting literally minutes after 6 p.m. to be told about the suicide in the lobby.”

Fiedler swung into action. He left the editors meeting and went to a private office to discuss the situation in greater detail with Diaz and Beatty. When he learned DeFede had made a tape without Teele's knowledge, their discussion turned from Teele to what to do with DeFede and his tape. Fiedler saw the issue in stark terms. “Making a tape recording without telling anybody is a subterfuge,” he insists. “We talked about wow, we have this, what do we do?” Fiedler says. “Is this a firing offense? Are there sanctions short of that? Is there precedent here? All of those things, believe me, were argued and belabored. We had considerable conversations.”

It was the first time such an incident had ever happened at the Knight Ridder newspapers, Fiedler says. “Not within Knight Ridder is there a precedent for somebody coming forward saying I have done wrong and I did it on purpose,” he says. From Fiedler's vantage point, DeFede had committed an unpardonable journalistic sin that would have ramifications years in the future. “Jim had committed a major breach of trust knowingly with a source in the news,” he says “This was almost certain to come out publicly.” That's when they decided they should fire DeFede.

“How do I respond as the keeper in the newsroom?” Fiedler asks. “I ultimately agreed and Jesus agreed and Robert Beatty agreed. We talked to smart people in San Jose.” He adds that the decision to fire the columnist was made by Herald executives. “Nobody in San Jose said you should do this,” he says. “We were looking to see if there was precedent here.”

While this discussion was raging in the publisher's office and in San Jose, DeFede was back in the newsroom. Around 8 p.m., he handed the Teele tape to Judy Miller, the Herald's managing editor in charge of news and features. Then he sat down at his computer to write a column on Teele's final hours.

“At 10:10 I'm called into the publisher's office,” he says. “I'm made to wait 20 to 25 minutes. I walked into the publisher's office and the head of the human resources department was there. I'm sitting in this darkened outer office. They had turned out all the lights because it's late.” When he finally got to see the publisher, he says, “I looked at Jesus and said, ‘Are you firing me?' He said, ‘Yes, Jim. I think I am.'”

“I pleaded my case as best I could,” DeFede says. “I went from consoling this man, to finding he was dead. To them sneaking me in through the back entrance, the freight entrance, of the Herald to avoid the police out front. They are firing me and they're still cleaning up Art Teele's blood in the lobby.” Fiedler says his decision to fire DeFede was based solely on the taped telephone call. He denies that it had anything to do with criticism of DeFede from the expatriate Cuban community in Miami. The Cuban exile community had been angered by DeFede's column about a trip to Cuba to report on Luis Posada Carriles, who allegedly was involved with the downing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 and several bombings in Havana that killed an Italian tourist in the late 1990s.

“For a small segment of our readership that may have been an issue,” Fiedler says. “An equal or larger group cheered him on. This is what we paid Jim to do, to provoke discussion that forced others to think about their position. Jim did exactly what I would want any good columnist to do. He certainly exceeded any expectations. How the community saw Jim had nothing to do with this decision. What mattered to me was how anyone dealing with the Herald would view this a year or two from now.”

Fiedler maintains that sources should not be left to wonder if their conversations might be recorded without their knowledge by other reporters in the future. “We can't have people wondering whether we are ethical most of the time,” he says. “We expect people to be ethical in their dealings all of the time. It is that strict and that rigid. That's the conclusion I kept coming back to (that) night, and that's why a suspension wasn't right. We have to be absolutely clear when it came to an issue of trust — we can only wish this doesn't happen with your star columnist. Unfortunately we don't get to make those choices.”

Other journalists at the Herald have pointed out that at least one other reporter surreptitiously taped but didn't get fired. “This has happened before,” says one long-time veteran of the Herald newsroom. “There's been no policy on this. The couple of instances that it has happened before it was between you and your editor. You get slapped on the hand and nobody needs to know about it.” Peter Wallsten, a former Miami Herald political correspondent who now reports on the White House for the Los Angeles Times has created a website for journalists to sign a petition supporting DeFede. Says Wallsten: “It strikes me that the industry has been really rattled lately with a lot of scandals and questions of credibility and this might be a case where newspaper executives, perhaps with good intentions, worried about the credibility of their product and overreacted.” “The whole thing is very surreal,” says Linda Robertson, an award winning sports columnist at the Herald. “People have done things much worse than Jim DeFede and they are still working. He did not lie.”

Fiedler responds to alleged case of a previous surreptitious taping by saying “I understand this happened about 18 years ago. I can't comment with any kind of knowledge, but I would say that the decision that I made clearly was guided by the environment in which we are operating today. I think that environment is much more constrained in terms of the latitude we give ourselves in our behavior — post-Jayson Blair. Maybe that's the line of demarcation.” It's a new era in journalism, he says, and people reporting the news have to be above reproach when it comes to dealing with their sources.

The Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office is still ruminating over whether to charge DeFede with the unlawful taping. In the meantime, the Herald says it will continue to pay for any legal representation that DeFede may need. DeFede still holds out hope that he can get his old job back. He bemoans the fact that he never spoke directly with Fiedler before he was fired. (Fiedler says that he had hoped to speak to DeFede but said that airport security had taken his cellphone away as he was going through the checkpoint prior to boarding. That's when Diaz and Beatty gave Defede the news of his firing.) DeFede says he would go back to the Herald in a heartbeat. “I loved the Miami Herald,” he says. “I loved working there. I had the best job in the country. I think the decision was made too quickly. What I hope is that as things calm down we can all sit down. They can hear all the facts to see if something can't be worked out. We just need to back the train up a notch.”

Copyright © 2005 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

9:13 AM  
Blogger rph in miami lakes said...

Personally, I don't care for Defede's politics and at times, left leaning writings........BUT THE GUY IS GREAT TO READ !!!!

The Miami Herald dropped the ball on this one!

6:00 PM  
Blogger Bill DuPriest said...

bill dupriest

Laws and corporate rules tend to see situations in black and white. True justice often falls into a shade of gray--and this is one of those gray areas. Defede, with no criminal intent, did what almost anybody would do under the circumstances.
Defede is the last of the investigative writers at The Herald.
Bill DuPriest
ex-Herald bureau chief, wannabe novelist

12:28 PM  
Blogger Don McNay said...

I just watched Mr. DeFede on CNN's Reliable Sources Show. Please add my name to the letter.

The punishment is far too harsh for a man in an incredibly horrible situation.

Don McNay
Business Columnist
Richmond Register
don@donmcnay.com

10:07 PM  
Blogger Trained Observer said...

Jim DeFede got the death penalty, but will rise again through the muck so wrongfully heaped upon him.

In the fullness of time -- as if not evident already -- the verdict will come in for the so-called ethics of Robert Beatty, Jose Diaz and Tom Fiedler -- the Larry, Curly and Moe of metro daily ethics management.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Common Sense & Mirth said...

"Waaah, waaah, waaah, mommy, mommy, the firing was all my idea, but they think Tony and Jesus put me up to it ... and now everybody's looking at me funny ... waaah, waaah."

10:40 PM  

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