Sportswriter Publicly Quits, Salts The Earth In His Wake

The Miami Herald's FIU beat writer figured out that his paper and his city (to say nothing of the world) care a hell of a lot more about The U than they do FIU. His scathing letter of resignation pulled no punches.

It's cute to watch the newspapers figure out this blogging thing. In giving Pete Pelegrin the "Golden Panthers Prowl," they probably figured it would a quick reader-friendly way for him to post small items without the turnaround time of a proper story. They didn't consider the fact that, when he had finally had enough of the Herald relegating his stories to placement hell, he could just post an angry screed against them, without having an editor take a look at it first.

That's what he did this week, with a spectacular airing of grievances. The paper pulled it offline, but not quick enough for Google Cache to preserve a copy for eternity. (Credit to Rumors and Rants for bringing this to our attention.)

A sampling of his litany of complaints (some more valid than others):

•He was assigned non-FIU stories, meaning he couldn't cover everything dealing with the school.
•In 2008, they bumped an FIU feature of his off the front page, to make room for a second UM story.
•They killed a proposed feature on the career of a longtime FIU media relations director, even though they had run a story on a UM secretary the year before.
•A story about athletic fees at FIU, which was not covered as positively as he would have liked.
•Assigned someone else to help him cover the FIU blog.

As a result of these and many other real or perceived slights, Pelegrin is not only quitting the Herald, but quitting the newspaper business altogether. Which is probably a good idea as he may have trouble finding a job after publicly accusing his employer of a conflict of interest because they have an ad on the outfield wall at UM's baseball stadium.

Once upon a time the sports section of the paper was referred to as the "toy department," a judgment of its importance. Well, some toys are bigger and cooler than others. So while Pelegrin and FIU didn't always get fair shrift, that's tough shit. The audience determines what gets attention, and I'm willing to wager that in South Florida, the U of M is a bit more popular than FIU. That's the way life works. If Pelegrin can't understand that he'll never have free reign to write what he wants and how much he wants about his beat, then maybe he shouldn't be on it in the first place.

Moving On [Miami Herald(Google Cache)]