When I picked up my paper the next morning there was nothing there (yes, I later heard there was a blurb in the digital edition but its not the same). Our local paper no longer has the resources to cover every important story. It's not their fault.
Like other newspapers, Miami's main source of reliable information continues to downsize. Veteran Florida journalist, Diane McFarlin, points out,
“The math says it all: Most newsrooms are half the size they were 10 years ago. As a result, elected officials and bureaucrats are operating in the shadows to a greater extent than ever before … The scariest part of this is that citizens don’t know what they don’t know.”
People marching in the streets are one thing but if newspapers die, how will anyone keep an eye on those intent on making our lives more difficult? Who will dig in and report the truth?
Maybe no one. Maybe we'll have 1984 in 2024. The digital revolution has left an ominous gap and it's getting wider as newspapers become smaller. Who would have thought that more information would give us less?
I love the Miami Herald and so did my parents. I have been reading it for sixty years. Ten years ago they asked me to be a bi-weekly columnist for their Neighbors section. It was a thrill and an honor to be a small part of the Herald team. They were reducing their staff then and five years later I got a phone call. My editor told me, as nicely as she could, that I was no longer needed. Hundreds of full-time Miami Herald writers, much more talented than me, got these calls. I'm sure every one was heart breaking.
We'd like to blame the paper or the corporation that owns it but the fault really lies with us. If we're not buying (and reading) newspapers, their owners must cut costs. They reduce staff, the size of the paper, and try new formats to boost circulation.
The Herald's latest one, introduced last month, is a doozie. If you still read it you know it has a very different look, more tabloid-like with huge photographs and large white spaces.
Heck, New Times is easier on the eyes. Too bad their content stinks.
I use to grab the local section first but no longer; it is mixed in with national, business, entertainment, and international news. It feels like the waiter is bringing me my appetizer, entree, and dessert all at once.
But again, I love our local paper and know what's left of the talented staff is cloistered -at their new, reduced-sized headquarters- doing the best they can. No doubt their jobs have lousy hours, low-pay and are increasingly difficult.
My hat's off to them. I'll continue to subscribe to their diminishing attempt to spread the word as long as they can deliver. We will always need to hear "the truth" from people with the skills to find it.
I appreciate their efforts as I want "to know what I don't know". We need to support professional journalists and newspapers like the Miami Herald. They are our best link to reliable information.