Michael Mayo, opinion columnist for the Sun-Sentinel spoke to the members of the ORT America Woodlands North Chapter April 14th at the Woodlands Country Club.
Originally from Brooklyn, Mayo has been a writer for the Sun-Sentinel since 1989. He spoke to the members about his origins in the newspaper business and the slow decline of print readership over the years. At one time, the Sentinel would sell over 400,000 copies of its Sunday edition. Now they sell on average of about 240,000 papers which has meant a decline not only in revenue but staff. The Sentinel used to employ around 350 newsroom employees and now they are down to 160. This figure does not include the advertising, classified, marketing, human resources and the many other employees that go into producing the paper.
Regarding online news: He believes that the news has been free for so long on the internet that it’s going to be hard to start charging for it like the New York Times has recently decided to do.
Mayo discussed how watchdogs like online activist Chaz Stevens are changing the news. Once, these types of activists sat in during city meetings and didn’t have a voice. Now they have the internet, where their investigative work is is posted and some stories get picked up by the Sentinel.
Mayo also gave his opinion on the pending case against formers Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco. “Because she didn’t take money directly….it’s going to be a tough sell for the jury.” He went on to say, “I think it’s probably a weak case.” Mayo thinks that the Chait’s will be bad witnesses because they initially lied on their first deposition and then came back later saying other things. He thinks the defense will bring this up to make the Chait’s testimony less credible.
One member asked him if this type of corruption happens in other cities. He assured her that it does happen in other cities, however, because of our loose ethics laws, the nature of our geography, and our apathy to what’s going on in the many municipalities in South Florida, allegations of corruption have happened a lot here lately. He added that, even if State Attorney Michael Satz may be politically motivated, the recent investigations and arrests, “were the right thing to do.”
He went on to offer his opinion of Rick Scott. “He frightens me. Especially with the Republican majority in the House and Senate.” Mayo told the members that Rick Scott said all the right things without a strong opponent running against him. People voted for him without really checking him out.
Check out Michael Mayo’s columns in the Sun-Sentinel.