On Friday, the United States House of Representatives passed landmark legislation requiring cruise ships to promptly report crimes at sea to the United States Coast Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Newspapers throughout the United States covered the historic legislation which finally brought some long overdue accountability to the cruise industry. And, as usual, the Miami Herald didn’t cover the story.
Plenty of Stories – No Coverage from the Miami Herald
There have been a remarkable number of high profile stories involving cruise passengers over the course of the past five years. Shipboard crimes, ship fires, and missing passengers. These events are covered routinely by the L.A. Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and other national newspapers.
But the Miami Herald has remained oddly silent over the past many years. One reason is that the Miami Herald is best known for its puff pieces and color photographs in its Sunday travel (i.e., cruise) section. The Miami Herald’s Executive Business Editor, Jane Wooldridge, was the newspaper’s former Travel Editor for the past ten years.
The Herald’s "Cruises" page resembles more of a "food and wine" or "lifestyle" section than actual news. You can still reach Ms. Wooldridge at "Travels with Jane." You can follow her on Twitter @JaneWooldridge, where her profile includes a reference to being a "travel addict."
The Miami Herald – A "Cruise Travel Section" Masquerading As A "Business Section"
Does the Herald contain some interesting travel articles and happy cruise stories? No doubt. But undercover investigation, probing journalism, or insight into hard issues like sexual assault, cover ups of shipboard crimes, and cruise ship dumping? No way.
The Miami Herald depends heavily on the cruise line advertising to keep it afloat.
Look for Insightful News Regarding the "Cruise Capital of the World" from Reporters in Iowa
So we are left with newspapers outside of Florida to cover the uncomfortable issues involving the hundreds of foreign flagged cruise ships based in Miami. No reporter in Miami – the "Cruise Capital of the World" – will touch the stories. On Friday, newspapers like the Greenwich Post, Connecticut Post, and even the Daily Reporter from Spencer Iowa covered the new cruise crime bill. I posted articles mentioning the victims who have been responsible for pushing for this legislation over the past five years in articles "Congress Passes Cruse Crime Law" and Cruise Safety Bill Heartens Greenwich Victim’s Family.
The closest story to Miami came from the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel newspaper, in an article entitled "Legislation to Keep Cruise Passengers and Crew Safe Passes U.S. House." The article mentioned the Cruise Line International Association ("CLIA"), but neglected to explain that CLIA spent millions fighting the legislation over the years and threw in the towel when it appeared the legislation would pass. The article didn’t mention the International Cruise Victims ("ICV") association or any of the many cruise crime victims whose efforts led to the safety legislation.
Photo credit Daquella Manera Flickr Photostream