Margaret Carroll, Longtime Miami Herald Journalist

Miami Herald Critic and Conservative Columnist Glenn Garvin wrote the following tribute for journalist Margaret Carroll on Facebook and someone passed it to me. Carroll, who worked for the Miami Herald for about 30 years before leaving the paper several years ago, recently died. I have seen no obit, but I sincerely hope the Herald is going to do one.
 
Margaret Carroll, RIP
When I started at the Herald in 1992, I worked on the Clipper news desk, which back then opened for business at 5 a.m. Not only was that an obscenely early hour to be trying to make sense of copy from Reuters and Agence France Press, but there were just three of us (later, four) to get the whole paper off the floor by 10:30 a.m. So it was pretty much the Job from Hell.

Or it should have been. In fact, I've never laughed harder or longer than I did on that shift, and the biggest reason was Maggie Carroll, who sat across from me and kept up a nonstop stream of hilarious vituperation against past bosses, present bosses, future bosses, avaricious corporate swine, corrupt political swine, banks, cafeteria chicken of suspicious origin, bratty children in restaurants, Hurricane Andrew (which took the roof of her house), other people's dogs, space aliens, idiots she passed on the freeway coming into work and other random targets. One morning back when Postal Service workers were slaughtering their colleagues with impressive regularity, we arrived at work to find a memo saying that if anyone in the building ever went nuts and took hostages, we should call security and speak the code phrase, "The lights are getting dimmer near my desk." From then on, whenever Maggie spotted a boss she hated (that is, any and all of them) walking into the newsroom, or when the SII pulled one of its frequent kamikaze dives, or even a headline didn't fit, she'd cackle ominously and murmur to me, "The lights are getting dimmer!''

For all that, Maggie was one of the kindest people I've ever known. I'd only been on the job three weeks or so when I had a minor hassle with the bank that was refinancing my house. The cash necessary at closing was going to be $5,000 more than the bank had said, and I only had three hours to round it up. Maggie -- remember, she'd only known me three weeks -- offered to run down to the credit union and pull $5,000 out of her account for me on the spot. Soon after that, I was amazed and yet somehow not surprised at all when she took over the care of an ex-husband she'd barely seen in 15 years who came down with brain cancer. (Inevitably with Maggie, there was a darkly funny backstory: She got involved when the ex-husband's girlfriend, who thought a little bit of terminal brain cancer was no excuse for a diminished libido, called her for sex tips.)

Maggie was a barrel of sardonic laughs and a splendid friend. I count myself so, so very lucky to have known her. And I'm missing her already.


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14 comments
Jconner32806
Jconner32806

This is the best tribute to Maggie I have seen.  I am Joan Conner and Maggie was my best friend and roommate for about 10 years, then we both got married at about the same time,.  She and Bob  were married in my home as were Chuck and I   We stood up for each other.   I first met her when I went as a wet nosed wanna be at the St.,  Pete Times.  Then I went to the Independent when they said I was getting too hard and needed the woman's dept. to soften me up.,  M aggie convinced me to take the Independent job when I was ready to dump the whole thing.   Then  later she and I  and our  dog I sh k. Bibble (yes he got mail that way) went to Miami when I became very ill and needed surgery.   She went to the Herald and I to the 5th floor  Miami News.  Maggie was my mentor,  the person who maqde me grow up  and my dearest friend.   My daughter Lupe and I took her to dinner the night before her last surgery,  and even tho neither of us looked the same , that wonderful voice and laugh were there.l    I have not found ANY   obit frofm the  Herald.   Now I am sort of retired, but basically writing murder mysteries.          This was something she always told me I should be doing anyway            Joan Conner -n Fonte    

Dorothy
Dorothy

Maggie was what made the Herald a great place to work in it's time.I will never forget her or the impact she made on me and all those around the Composing room.

Sue Mullin
Sue Mullin

When Garvin and I saw Maggie at Jackson after her surgery, she couldn't speak above a whisper . . but she was sitting up proudly in a chair, still had a twinkle in her eye and matched Garvin barb-for-barb by jotting down her wickedly funny respones . . . in a reporter's notebook, no less. I miss her ''don't-let-the-bastards-grind-you-down'' spirit. . . Sue Mullin

Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears

Maggie worked mostly as an editor during the last 30 or so years. When I joined The Herald's national desk in 1986, she was one of the editors for the A section on the Street edition. She went from there to the International Edition and later became copy chief on the Features desk.

She had a keen eye for bullshit and inaccuracy, whether she was editing copy or evaluating the management of The Herald. She was blunt and outspoken but treated her co-workers with great empathy and respect.

Maggie was also an animal lover. She considered me a much improved person after I adopted several cats, and she brought gifts for the cats when she came to our housewarming party. She had several beloved dogs.

Maggie worked at The Herald as a content editor and Features copy chief until she went out on medical leave in early 2008. She was forced to retire in July 2008.

She was a singular individual, and the world of journalism is worse off without her.

Teresa

dalton narine
dalton narine

Maggie will always be at my fingertips when I'm at the computer because she taught me the art of editing and fine prose that no institution of higher learning, in my mind, could duplicate.

Garvin's right that she cut no slack with her thumbnail sketches of employees who worked "by the Bay."

But where I take a different fork in the road is how Maggie got me the medical attention I desperately needed at the VA for PTSD. I think she saved my life in the middle of a "Monsoon."

Rest in Peace, Maggie.

Dalton

Kevin Baxter
Kevin Baxter

Maggie was the best. During my 7 1/2 years at the Herald so many depressing things happened that it often was difficult to come to work. Maggie made it tolerable. My favorite days were the Sundays when it was just Maggie and I working the features desk. The building was empty, Maggie would get bored and we would just talk -- and as Glenn suggested, the conversation would frequently stray in whatever direction Maggie's mind took it.

I echo Desonta: Maggie should have been given the opportunity to go out on her own terms. And the Herald definitely owes her an obit.

Greg Melikov
Greg Melikov

You got the Maggie I knew for many years RIGHT ON! Boy, you have some pretty foul-mouthed critics that even soot down praise. I worked on the copy desk with Maggie when I joined The Herald in the fall of 1965 when Bob Ingle was night slot and Charlie Ward was news editor. All were great journalists and good teachers. I learned much.

From 1966 through 1997 when I took early retirement Maggie was still working while I spent all but one year on the State Desk where I was night slot. Her assessment of Herald bosses was 50 percent right, but 100 percent correct on the highest tier.I hung around around as a freelance copy editor moving to Broward until 2000 when I relocated to Greater San Antonio.

Maggie was a dedicated Heraldite like many of us were. Whew, it was heaven compared to the hell of today as newspapers enter the dead zone. I've had some success freelance writing and am enjoy South Texas where my wife has more relatives than the Bushes since she was born in Waco. Keep up the good blog work. I may disagree sometimes with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.

John deGroot
John deGroot

To: So desperate...I was going to write a long rant (a) in praise of Bob Norman and (b) slamming your irrationally high opinion of yourself...But on second thought, I'm just gonna suggest you go fuck yourself.PSAnd shame on you for being one more of way too many anonymous limp dicks who lack the balls to back up their bile with their real names.

RIP Maggie
RIP Maggie

Maggie rocked. She was old school, and sadly you don't see people with that kind of talent, wit and balls in the business today. She cared, and she made it fun. That gave her a more meaningful and successful career than any budget-cutter, layer-offer or right-sizer will ever have.

David Quinones
David Quinones

Bob-

Try Dade public libraries, you can search her by entering your library card number.

I looked in our internal system and found about fifty bylines from 1984 to 1996. These should all be in the library's database.

Pulp
Pulp

Thank you, corrected above.

Desonta
Desonta

Maggie did not retire. I wish she had been able to leave The Herald on her own terms.

Pulp
Pulp

I'm not presuming anything. And you obviously have no idea about the depth of my experience in South Florida, so you're the one making the presumptions. And you're also the one who needs to shut up and show some respect.

That said, I surely don't have near the depth of experience that Carroll had, but finding the stuff of her career is no easy task. She retired before the digital age really took hold. I can find none of her stories on the Internet. There's not even anything on Lexis Nexis. The only vestige of her work outside the Herald library system is a citation in a Lousiana State University thesis paper on media coverage of Jim Morrison regarding a story she did in 1969 on the Doors concert. Here's a link:

http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/availa...

The dearth of material is more reason that the Herald has a duty, in my eyes, to publish a well-reported obituary on Carroll.

so desperate for acceptance
so desperate for acceptance

To preresume you are in the same circles as dear Maggie,Glenn and others makes me want to puke. These are/were people who have more depth of experience in South Florida than you could ever appreciate. It's that experience that makes your commentary so shallow. Bob, do you ever just shut the fuck up?

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