Miami Herald: Sinking Like a Rock

Categories: Media Watch
Marc Averette via Wikimedia Commons
Yesterday was not a good day for the Miami Herald or its parent company, McClatchy. The two top editors at El Nuevo Herald announced they were leaving because, according to the editor and publisher, they couldn't stomach slashing more newsroom jobs. In a positive spin on their departures that appeared on the Herald's website yesterday, reporter Andres Viglucci put Herald circulation numbers at around 190,000.

That's a drop of 50,000 subscribers in the past year, according to the blog McClatchy Watch, which is basing its estimate on Audit Bureau of Circulation numbers.

And as Random Pixels pointed out yesterday, the Herald circulation drop is staggering, especially when one considers that in 1985 the paper pulled in close to half a million readers a day.

There is no glee on our part that this is happening. Even with a much diminished staff, the Herald has news gathering resources that no other media outlet in the market comes close to matching. As Bob Norman recently pointed out, when cities lose daily papers, or when they cut back on reporting jobs to the extent that certain communities and government agencies go uncovered, we all lose.

And the Herald, for all its problems, still continues to do fantastic work. Its top-notch Borrower's Betrayed series, which recently won the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, did as good a job as any piece on explaining how the mortgage meltdown happened in Florida.

Unfortunately, until somebody figures out how to make money off the web (where all the readers are going one hopes), circulation and ad dollars are going to continue to drop, which means more layoffs, making it harder and  harder for the Herald to do the kind of journalism it has built its name on. And that's bad for all of us.

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