Dear Sam:

Open letter to Tribune Company president Sam Zell `"The incredible shrinking newspaper," Aug. 7`:

I used to turn to the Orlando Sentinel for in-depth coverage and hard-hitting, investigative state and local news. And today, in the information age, I would turn to the Sentinel for hard news. If the urge ever came up for the puppy stories, I could always satisfy my craving at any supermarket or pharmacy checkout aisle.

 I stopped subscribing to the Sentinel to cut costs after losing my job five years ago. I still bought the paper at least once a week, however. Now, Sam, I confess to having resolved not to waste my money on your paper again. Since you've taken over, you have slashed newspaper staff, slashed coverage, slashed substance and in the process, you've raised the price of your "newspaper."

 Here's what all your changes boil down to for us customers: Spend more, get less! Puppies just don't cut it. No, Sam, fuck you!

Bill Leavy, via the Internet

About time

It's unfortunate that it takes the very painful and "almost" public dismantling of the Sentinel for the Orlando Weekly to do an insightful, intelligent and accurate critique of the paper instead of the frat-boy snark you usually print `"The incredible shrinking newspaper," Aug. 7`. Maybe we can look forward to the Weekly leaping into the cavernous vacuum and providing more real coverage of Central Florida instead of simply making jokes about how the Sentinel isn't doing it.


You say fired …

I think anyone who reads Jim Clark's comments about the Orlando Sentinel needs to know that Clark was fired from the newspaper `"The incredible shrinking newspaper," Aug. 7`. I think it's unethical for him to pass judgment on the paper without admitting to that, to give readers the opportunity to take it into account as they measure his credibility. As he should know, that's a fundamental principle of journalism. We call it transparency. It gives you the opportunity to see right through somebody.

Mike McLeod, via the Internet

Editor's note: Clark's version of his departure from the paper is as follows: "I took a buyout in 1998. `Then-editor John` Haile and I could not get along. We had serious disagreements. Finally it came to a head."

Cow farts explained

While I found Jim Motavalli's article `"The meat of the matter," July 31` interesting, nowhere does he deal with the chemistry of methane. Methane is treated throughout the article as something that just goes up into the atmosphere and stays there. In fact, methane is an organic compound, and like all organic compounds it is oxidized by oxygen, which steals its electrons, breaking it down into carbon dioxide and water, which are then taken up by plants and used for photosynthesis. The half-life of methane in the earth's atmosphere is seven years; i.e., if no more methane were produced, the amount in the atmosphere would be reduced by half every seven years.

None of this has any bearing on the points Motavalli makes concerning the destructive effects of cattle farming on the environment and the consumption of meat on human health. But those arguments stand on their own merits. Adding the specter of global warming to the picture is unnecessary. The addition of carbon to the earth's atmosphere is a serious problem, but it stems primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, which causes carbon that was formerly locked up in the ground to be added to that already cycling in the biosphere.

 Dr. Graeme Smith, via the Internet

Corrections Department

Due to a reporting error, we stated in the Aug. 7 cover story, "The incredible shrinking newspaper," that the Orlando Sentinel's business pullout, CFB, was no longer being published. In fact, CFB is still in the paper every Monday.

In the same story we stated that the Sentinel's slogan used to be "Florida's Best Newspaper." It was actually "The Best Newspaper in Florida."

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