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Pelican Press Stan “the Man” Zimmerman Ousted by Observer Group

If you haven't seen Citizen Kane ... maybe now's a good time to check it out.

If you haven't seen Citizen Kane ... maybe now's a good time to check it out.

As most of you know, the Observer Group (of the Sarasota, Longboat, East County Observers) purchased the much-loved island-and-beyond Pelican Press newspaper a couple of weeks back. Word on the street was that axes would soon be swinging … and at least one has already swung.

Highly respected and gazillion-award-winning shoe-leather newspaperman Stan Zimmerman was let go by the Observer Group on Thursday of last week.

Zimmerman had just nabbed a 2010 second-place award from the Florida Press Association for his investigative reporting on the FBI’s investigation into former Sarasota County School District employees involved in the purchase of classroom ActivBoards. He collaborated on that piece with another former Pelican reporter William Mansell.

Zimmerman holds an MA in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University, Washington, DC, and is the author of “A History of Smuggling in Florida;” The History Press, 2006. The guy is widely known and respected for his straight reporting and pull-no-punches news-gathering. I know I’m not the only one in Sarasota who will sorely miss seeing his columns and articles in print.

But … good news: Stan let me know that he’s “moving his pen” over to, where I believe he’ll continue to cover Sarasota County people, government, shenanigans, places, hoopla, and news of import. In fact, I notice he’s got a story up there today — check it out by clicking this link, and I notice you can do an RSS subscribe to his county coverage so you can count on continuing to receive his excellent reporting.

Good luck, Stan!

Posted on July 11th, 2011Comments RSS Feed
20 Responses to Pelican Press Stan “the Man” Zimmerman Ousted by Observer Group
  1. MC, as I’ve expressed my opinion to Rachel Hackney, the acquisition of the Pelican Press by the Observer was absolutely, the second worse business decision the Pelican Press has ever made, the first being your removal. I told Rachel; if my cats found out their litter-boxes were lined with the Observer, they’d refuse to step foot in it. Matt Walsh has got to be the absolute poorest excuse of an editor that I’ve ever known. He’s the only person I know, who think Governor Scott is the finest Governor this state has ever had. Matter of fact, you look into the Observers archive and you’ll not find one positive word, ever printed of a Democrat.

    Stan Zimmerman, was one of the finest “journalists” around and the removal of Stan from the Pelican Press, reinforces my low opinion of Matt Walsh.

    Stan, hope you’re reading this my friend, you’re one of Sarasota’s finest and sincerely wish you the very best.

    Once this economy changes for the better, I hope Ms. McFarlin brings you on board of the finest paper in southwest Florida – the “world class”; Herald-Tribune…who by far, has the best journalsist in the state.

    Stan – “You Rock” !

    Ms. McFarlin, hope you’re reading this as well.

    MC, thank you again, for your positivness, insightfulness keeping the community up-to-date on current events. Without the Herald-Tribune and your blog, no other paper in print can be trusted for honest – truthful journalism.

  2. Im sure Stan will appreciate your kind words, Dan. I know I do! :)

  3. Why would they need a journalist? The Observer works hard to avoid anything of substance or interest. Lining the catbox is a good use for it, Daniel. I’ll be moving my eyes to

  4. Donald, same here my friend…. same here…

  5. Stan Zimmerman
    July 11, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Dan, Don and MC, I thank you for your kind words. The nooze-biz is ever-changing. The one absolute remaining is not the “biz,” but the “nooze.” Some folks see a city or county commission meeting as a banal and boring display. I find it a real-time drama, an ever-changing live theater. Of often great importance.

    Public monies well spent; public monies squandered; budgets based on hope not fear; personal picadillos writ into policy, these I find fascinating. And I try to share my appreciation.

    When Matt Walsh telephoned to say my services were no longer necessary, he added a curious addendum. “I called city and county commissioners, and they told me you were the most accurate and fair reporter in the county,” he said. And then repeated there was no place in his newspapers for me.

    I’m looking forward to plying my trade at Alas it will be more of the same fairness and accuracy. Journalism is a skilled trade, like plumbing or carpentry. You can look at the join and tell if a craftsman did it. Spread the word. I’m still on the job. s/StanZ

  6. Charmaine Engelsman-Robins
    July 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    As i commented in the SHT and on FB when the Observer got the Pelican: “A sad day for writers and readers; there goes the last real newspaper in Sarasta.” Only stands to reason that thy wouldn’t want to keep REAL reporters. Their loss, Stan! See ya on Patch!

  7. Thanks Stan for a long and terrific job. Wm Mansell’s Sarasota Patch is a great start and would be blessed to have your continued comment, passion and wisdom. I know Bob Ardren is looking down on all of us and smiling. The Pelican Press will be missed; hope the Observer is not so smug to use the name.

  8. Thanks, MC, for bringing this to our attention. Sad for print, but I will be checking out Sarasota Patch regularly. Stan, thanks for your contributions to truthful reporting — a basic requirement for an informed citizenry and for fair and honest government.

  9. While I certainly respect the right of “freedom of the press”, I do not however support a business owner – (aka, Matt Walsh of the Observer newspapers),that fails to acknowledge “true” reporting that Stan has always provided.

    Stan has “always” provided un-biased reporting, based on facts,true – hard facts, rather than used the space provided by the Pelican Press for his own “slanted” political views, as Matt Walsh does with the Observer.

    Why, I ask you do you think Matt Walsh and his Observer group purchased the Pelican Press in the first place, what do you think his true agenda really was….should take less than a moment to figure that one out.

    If you’ve read the Pelican Press the past couple weeks, you’ll read the exact stories as they appeared in the Observer.

    Ya’ll can do what you wish, but I Hawkeye2u, hereby proclaim Tuesday, July 12th, as “Stan “the man” Zimmerman Day! and am going on an all-out boycot of the Pelican Press and the Observer network and ask anyone, everyone to join me in my fight for honest, truthful, un-biased journalism in Sarasota County. (Something the Observer is dead-set against).

    Let the Herald-Tribune shine like it never has before.

    “Happy Stan “the man” Zimmerman Day, everyone!

  10. Stan, I’m one of your spies, and behind these fonts I cry a rebel
    yell! I may never call Sarasota home again, but I’ll remember the loss I felt when Bob’s departure was final; and how his replacement filled the void. It was like the local fuse was tripped, but not burned out. As a true snowbird, I’ll move on. “all I need is some tasty waves, and a cool breeze…, and some truthy reporting, and a chance to vote down off shore drilling in Florida! (that’s what this all boils down to)

  11. My personal boycot of the Pelican Press begins today – (have always boycotted the Observer), and will do everything I can to spread the word.

    Advertisers out there….please support the “Herald-Tribune”

  12. MC,
    OMG, unbelievable and tragic. Another excellent, well-respected writer forced to leave our beloved Pelican Press. I was amazed to read Stan Zimmerman’s background, but not totally surprised because back in the day, the PP always had top-notch writers, and you are my favorite.
    Let’s hope Rachel keeps her job and still maintains some decision-making.

  13. Harriet, regretably, Rachel will be Matt Walsh’s puppet and do exactly what he says. While I refuse to even put “another” politicaly slanted paper in my hands, I’ve heard, the PP is merely a mirror of the Observer – (same writers…ect…)Take a look at the Observer’s Nightlife/Ent. section, looks like a large advertisement for a plastic surgeon… I’ve never seen so much Botox/Silicone in my life, than in the Observer…almost as plastic as the paper..
    And Harriet, give Matt Walsh and his group time, and you’ll see “why” his group purchased the PP in the first place, and what his agenda truly is…

  14. I appreciate your feelings, Hawkeye2you, but I will say that I’ve known Rachel since my days at the Pelican Press as the Reality Chick columnist and she’s never been someone who’s pulled by strings. She may have to work with puppeteers from time to time, but she holds her own. I imagine she’ll continue to do so to the best of her ability while keeping her job if she wishes.

  15. MC, certainly hope so…. (I’d love to see Rachel begin her own newspaper…where she’ll have full reign, no advertisers….perhaps something like the “Main Street Beat…” Either way, I sincerely wish Rachel the best..

  16. Thank you for the kind words about Sarasota Patch. While we are never happy to hear that people have lost their job, Sarasota Patch is thrilled to have Stan contribute more.

    Stan has been writing one or two stories a week for Sarasota Patch since December and that number has already increased considerably.

    Please check out the site and let us know what you think.

    William Mansell

  17. Who is Matt Walsh and “the Observer Group”? Who is funding them? Are we allowed to know?

  18. Tom, Matt Walsh is the owner/publisher/editor of the Sarasota Observer newspaper, the Longboat Key Observer, and the East County Observer — also owns a similar publication over on the east coast of Florida. He is a Sarasotan — not sure if he’s a native, but certainly has been in the community for a long time.

  19. MC, maybe you should tell your readers why they should see ‘Citizen Kane’. Did anyone mention Rupert Murdoch?

  20. I’m sad to say Daniel but your comment above is wrong. The decision to sell had nothing to do with who you perceive to be an entity known as the ‘Pelican Press’. The paper has been owned by out of state interests for many years. The decision to sell was a corporate one, based I believe purely on money, (What else!)

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