Dumb and Dumber? 
The Challenge of Local News and Public Education


Michael Putney, Channel 10 reporter, Miami-Herald columnist

Michael Putney began his broadcast career in 1966 in Columbia, Missouri as a radio reporter and news director in KCGM.  He later worked for The Columbia Daily Tribune as city editor and various publications such as The National Observer in Washington, D.C., Time, Inc. in New York, and The Miami Herald.  In 1981, Michael returned to broadcasting at WTVJ in Miami. He reported on a wide variety of stories but with a heavy emphasis on government and politics.  By the late '80s, Michael Putney had achieved "most valuable reporter" status in the South Florida broadcast community.  Michael Putney finally went to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's lead reporter on politics and government, and writes a semimonthly column on politics for The Miami Herald.


Merritt Stierheim, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Merrett Stierheim graduated third in his class with a Master's Degree in Governmental Administration from the Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Finance from Bucknell University.   Stierheim interned and later served as Assistant City Manager in Miami from 1959 to 1967; as Clearwater City Manager from 1967 to 1973; and Pinellas County Administrator from 1973 to 1976.  Stierheim first served as County Manager from 1976 to 1986 and successfully supervised $5 billion in countywide infrastructure.  In 1980, he helped restore law and order after severe civil disturbances and joined community leaders to address the social inequities that sparked the disturbances.  In 1990, Stierheim was appointed President and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB).  Stierheim's efforts led to Miami-Dade experiencing its best tourism years ever in 1995, 1996, and 1997.  He was named Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools in October 2001. Immediately before his appointment, he served as the first Town Manager of the newly formed Town of Miami Lakes.  He is the recipient of numerous local, national and international awards. He has been involved in or has been a principal founder of major Miami-Dade civic and municipal institutions including, the Beacon Council, the GMCVB, and Metro Miami Action Plan (MMAP). He has served on the board of directors of more than 30 local, state and national organizations including Barnett Bank, SunBank, Travel Industry of America (TIA), International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (IACVB), United States National Tourism.  


Tony Doris, reporter, Palm Beach Post, formerly with the Miami Daily Business Review

Prof. Walter Secada, UM Professor of Education

Walter G. Secada joined the University of Miami in Fall 2003. Prior to that, he was professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of WisconsinóMadison, director of Diversity in Mathematics Education, a Center on Learning and Teaching funded by the National Science Foundation, and a former associate dean of the School of Education. His research interests have included equity in education, mathematics education, bilingual education, school restructuring, professional development of teachers, student engagement, and reform. As director of the U.S. Department of Educationís Hispanic Dropout Project, he was senior author of its final report, No More Excuses, which was released at a White House press conference by then-Vice President Gore and Secretary of Education Riley.  A fluent speaker of Spanish, Secada has presented at major conferences in Chile and Peru; as well as throughout the United States, and in Thailand, Taiwan, Greece, Norway, England, Germany, and South Africa.