I wrote editorials for The Herald from 1974 to 2000. During that era, newspapers were at the peak of their power and influence. Civic leaders vied for our favor. Our calendar was jammed as we met with movers and shakers — including out-of-state interests who equated Florida with Miami. As I reflect on my 26 years at One Herald Plaza, four things stand out:
1983: The Herald won the Pulitzer for editorial writing in recognition of a series on the plight of Haitians – men, women, and children –held for months in deplorable conditions at the Krome Avenue Detention Center, a facility ill-equipped for long-term stays. This series resulted, in part, from Editor Jim Hampton’s practice of having the writers get out of the “ivory tower” and visit various places as a group.
1984: The Editorial Board split on whom to endorse in the 1984 presidential election between Reagan and Mondale. Hampton, as a matter of conscience, preferred Mondale; Publisher Dick Capen and some editorial writers preferred Reagan. As an accommodation on this matter of conscience, The Herald assigned me to write the Reagan endorsement while allowing Hampton to write a dissent.
1992: Hurricane Andrew struck. Miraculously, The Herald published and delivered. In the ensuing days, the newspaper editorially implored federal and state officials to act, speaking for the entire community in a way that was possible when it seemed that nearly every household received the newspaper.
1993: My years of lamenting the lack of a Major League Baseball team in South Florida paid off as the Marlins began play. Alas, MLB got Florida wrong, giving an NL team to Miami and, later, an AL team to Tampa Bay. Now Miami has a team owned by someone who shows up on all those Google lists of the worst team owners. My sincere apologies.
Robert F. Sanchez, policy director, The James Madison Institute, Tallahassee