The Lighter Side of DeGroot

Well, they finally did it: The Sun-Sentinel managed to have only one story on the front page this Sunday. And, of course, it wasn't an end-of-the-worlder; just something about unpermitted construction work.

I don't know how the Tribune company plans to get back on its feet this way. One byline on the front page just doesn't make for a vibrant, satisfying newspaper. Of course, there was a giant tease to Tim Collie's project on a teenager who has been in a Schiavo-like state for three years after a car accident. Not something that demands reading, but a very well-done story. How good? Good enough to earn the praise of Sentinel critic and Pulp sensation John DeGroot, the newspaper's former writing coach. Another story that grabbed DeGroot's attention was Audra Burch's story in the Miami Herald on an addiction recovery place in Delray Beach. Here's what he wrote:

Given the decline and fall of newspapering as we once knew it, attention must be paid to the increasingly rare work of the dwindling number of story-telling writers still dazzling us with their talent here in South Florida.

Certainly, both Tim Collie of the Sentinel and Audra Burch of the Herald Sunday revealed their tremendous love of language and humanity in their respective stories about a local family's courage and steadfast love for their comatose son (Collie) and the strange, desperate battle to stay sober waged by 5,000 adicts in Delray Beach (Burch).

Both pieces need to be read as examples of two writers with a tremendous feeling for just the right word --- or, to paraphase Mark Twain, Collie and Burch sure as hell know the difference between lightning and light bugs.

Oh yes.

Be sure to catch Burch's last two graphs. As "kickers" go, Audra's is awesome!

One other thing I should mention, completely off point, is that a Sun-Sentinelite sent me word yesterday that outgoing Managing Editor Sharon Rosenhause failed to attend Saturday's memorial service for Bruce Kestin on Saturday. Why? They say she attended a production of Celia: The Life and Times of Celia Cruz in Miami instead. Needless to say this choice didn't sit well with those who worked side-by-side with Rosenhause and Kestin, an assistant city editor, during the past decade or so. Wrote the Sentinel staffer: "Just one more reason her staff will miss [Rosenhause] when she leaves July 31 ... NOT."

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