Friday, June 17, 2005

Gene Miller
Posted by Hello

Miami Herald obituary

I'll be adding links to comments, stories and tributes at the bottom of this posting.

I've posted lots of obituaries of journalists I once worked with here, and have left out a few. (Recently, J.D. Alexander of the Seattle P-I and the Washington Post and Robin Daugherty, formerly of The Herald, because I didn't know them well.)

But this one.....may have been my favorite journalist of all time. I met Gene not long after coming to The Miami Herald in 1981. He'd been there for 25 years or so already, and had won two Pulitzers. Not only that, but they were Pulitzers for getting innocent people out of jail. Not often anyone gets to do that.

Gene was irreverent, funny, had a huge laugh you could hear across the newsroom. He had friends all over journalism and was constantly writing letters to them pointing out stories they'd missed, errors, or making suggestions. He'd often bring those letters around to be read, because he enjoyed them so much. He wrote the best ledes ever.

When he was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, he wrote his own biography. And sure enough, he brought it around for me to read. It's like no autobio I've ever read:

    "At the factory on the bay, silkpursed the ears of sows, mountained molehills, thumbed dikes, and unscrewed things when things got screwed up. Covered: Yarmouth Castle fire, Birmingham and MLK, Candy Mossler, Mackle kidnap­ping, Apollo, Chappaquidick, Kent State, Dolphins Perfect Season, Three Mile Island, Patty Hearst, Mai Lai and Lt. Calley, Attica, Elvis, Ted Bundy, Gary Gilmore, Guyana suicides, McDuffie trial and riots, George Wallace, Fountain Valley massacre, some of which seemed important at the time...
    Swims a thousand yards daily with the grace and beauty of a floating log. Heart beat so slow Pacemaker installed. For sexual escapades, see addenda."

Once years ago Gene came into the library and said he'd been on vacation. 'Stayed in a cabin and did nothing but get laid', he said. Shocked me a bit, but that was Gene. He enjoyed life and his family and friends. He swam every lunch hour. He was sick for over two years but, despite a couple chemotherapy bouts that laid him low and took his hair, he took each of his grandchildren on a special trip, came to work most days and stayed happy. What more could you ask?

The Herald obit, mostly written by Gene himself, a rewrite of the Hall of Fame bio, is already linked on Poynter. But, although Gene wouldn't have approved of the addition to his copy, Martin Merzer gets the essence:
    "His philosophy: Put everything in the newspaper, unvarnished. Just ask questions, write down the answers and put them in the newspaper. Pretty simple.
    Gene's first byline appeared in The Herald on Nov. 9, 1957, the day after he came to work. In that story, a BBC executive said, ''There is no substitute for news.'' It became Gene's creed.
    'Publish! Journalistic cowardliness and/or soft-headedness is as evil as censorship and is just as harmful to a free society,' Gene wrote in 1984 when a Herald editor made the mistake of sending him a questionnaire about dicey journalistic situations."

Gene died on the anniversary of the Watergate break-in, probably the biggest thing to happen to journalism in his lifetime. I hope he got to enjoy the Deep Throat stories in the last few weeks....I noticed recently that among the files in the Bernstein/Woodward Watergate collection at UT, is one correspondence from someone at The Miami Herald: Gene Miller. Another of Gene's letters.

Some references to Gene Miller: Calvin Trillin on 'the Miller Chop' in NewsDesigner. How Miller helped get another conviction reversal, from ABANet; from ASNE (in the Spaziano case). Appeal in Miller's case against Universal Studios.

Reaction to his death:


  • is very informative. The article is very professionally written. I enjoy reading every day.
    fast cash loan
    payday advance

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:10 PM  

  • Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:( Thank you.


    1. Name Of Applicant in Full:……..
    2. Telephone Numbers:……….
    3. Address and Location:…….
    4. Amount in request………..
    5. Repayment Period:………..
    6. Purpose Of Loan………….
    7. country…………………
    8. phone…………………..
    9. occupation………………
    11.Monthly Income…………..

    Email Kindly Contact:

    By Blogger Dr Purva Pius, at 4:44 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home