Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Crime Reporter's Arrest Leads to Policy Change

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Crime Reporter's Arrest Leads to Policy Change

Article excerpt

Coverage of airport trespassing count in Miami Heralds a new approach

Nobody at The Miami Herald was bent out of shape when longtime crime reporter Arnold Markowitz, 63, was arrested for allegedy trespassing in a restricted area while he was covering a police search for a supposedly escaped prisoner at Miami International Airport.

"If anything, it's a surprise that at this stage in my career that this hadn't happened before," said Markowitz, who began reporting for the Herald in 1967. "I'm pretty aggressive when I'm covering something."

But the six-paragraph story reporting his arrest set off a furor in the newsroom that led new Executive Editor Marty Baron to reverse the Herald's long-standing policy of reporting the exact address of both victim and suspect in crime stories.

The article reported Markowitz's exact address as it would in a story about any other arrest.

To those in the newsroom, however, Markowitz was not just another arrestee & he is someone who comes across a particularly unsavory stratum of society as a crime reporter in a city whose reputation for criminality has spawned an entire genre of pulp fiction. The paper's internal electronic bulletin board was filled with protests.

"I'm not someone who went out of my way to create enemies, but if you cover crime on a daily basis you don't know who you're going to get mad. I just felt really betrayed by the whole episode," said Markowitz, who added he's been varying his route home. …

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