Who’s watching the South Florida Water Management District?

LANTANA, FL — I don’t want to sound like I’m picking on  the South Florida Water Management District because, quite honestly I don’t know enough about it to pick on it. Until a few years ago, and for about ten years preceding, the local paper used to cover it in painful minutiae, which, admittedly I didn’t appreciate sufficiently back then. Then the local paper re-organized, cut half its staff, and as far as I could tell, pretty much left its doings go uncovered. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say, let its doings stay covered — because that’s what happens when the press isn’t paying attention. This situation really underscores on a number of levels that you don’t know what you got until you lose it. The District, after all, is in charge to a great extent, of what happens to the Everglades, and what happens to the Everglades has a lot to do, sooner or later, with what life is like in South Florida. So it’s too bad we know less about what is happening there because the local paper doesn’t feel it has the resources to keep us saturated with information on its doings anymore.

This would be enough reason for trepidation, but then today, a still-working journalist, who, evidently out of concern for journalist colleagues who have lost their jobs, posted to a facebook group the “Good Job Opportunity” of media relations employee for the district. While this might seem a good opportunity for a journalist who doesn’t know how she is going to put shoes on the baby, or send the kid to college, a world without watchdogs doesn’t make a very good place for journalists or their children to live.

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