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North Miami's Loss

Local blogger Stephanie Kienzle of votersopinion.com recently ended her journalistic relationship with the city of North Miami. This is a pretty big deal because as I know it she was the only journalist covering North Miami.
Discerning news reader know better than to rely on the information coming out of the Miami Herald, which is more legitimizes the powers that be than producing any actual journalism.
Like another local blogging hero, Al Crespo, Stephanie is a citizen journalist whose work calls in to question the journalistic quality of government-condoned media institutions, like our local TV stations, or aforementioned Herald. Part of what I mean, and I've written about previously, is the habit of mainstream media to plagiarize the journalism of bloggers, and do it poorly so as to lose the relevance of the original efforts.
Although perhaps remembered most for doing the leg work in the Myron Rosner arrest, votersopinion.com has many example of journalism. Rather than parroting press releases and giving politicians favorable quote space, journalists, unlike mainstream media, report on the facts and follow where they lead. The news is the facts, the conclusions we reach about current events need factual underpinnings or we can allow lies to be accepted as truths.

Consider this article by the Miami Herald regarding candidates for a recent election who may not have lived in their cities of candidacy for the time required to run for such offices. If you review the article notice they specifically reference votersopinion.com, and that Stephanie, its author, filed a complaint. They do not, however, reference any of the evidence in the complaint. That means their neither refute nor corroborate the evidence. What's worse though, it means Herald readers know there is an issue, but could not possibly discern why.
Of the three candidates covered in the article, regarding one there is a hear-say quote of the candidate admitting his non-residency. The Herald fails to specify whether this quote was given directly to them, or if they got it from another source. The Herald also fails to investigate the claim. If the candidate did admit on a radio program to being a non-resident of North Miami, that would have been very strong evidence of criminal behavior. Hear-say, however, is not evidence, and would not walk two inches in a court of law against any decent defense attorney. But the Herald is not a part of the justice system, so apparently their standards of journalism are about as mature as George W. Bush's diction.
It's well and good the Herald is a bulletin board for the vaguest representations of current events, but who the HELL do they think is going to investigate the stories they're reporting on if they won't do it?

And so, since our local, government condoned, mainstream news publication, the Miami Herald, is chronically incapable of doing journalism, (a bulletin board is not journalism) what remains is the citizen journalist.
Subject to a level of transparency unrivaled by any, citizen journalists must be on point with their information or the public will eat them alive. Posts on votersopinion often promote discussions involving both members of the community, and those charged with maintaining it.


And so I come full circle. The City of North Miami lost the efforts of Stephanie Kienzle to shed light where there is otherwise a great darkness. As that city is further taken over by organized crime, losing such a light may be catastrophic.
Therefore I call you to arms. Stephanie alone could not possible fill the void of journalism in North Miami. The local bloggers are not enough to fulfill the desperate need for journalism everywhere. I've said something to this effect before and I won't stop now, a grand renaissance of citizen journalism is soon upon us. How can we make it happen sooner? How can we make it now?

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