New Times is proud to announce that the paper is now poised to accept legal notices from the City of Miami. "For too long we have been concentrating on political, social, and arts reporting," asserts editor Jim Mullin. "Too little attention has been paid to real community service, specifically to the posting of civic legal notices."
New Times, Mullin adds, is the perfect venue in which to announce bids, zoning hearings, and other city business. "Ads for futon stores and ads for construction permits are not as incompatible as they may seem at first," notes the editor. "This makes the paper more comprehensive, and better all around."
The shift in the paper's orientation was spearheaded by New Times publisher Michael Cohen, who says the change is unrelated to recent events at Miami City Hall. "No connection. None whatsoever," Cohen insists. "Of course not."
Last week Miami's debonair and misunderstood mayor Xavier Suarez left a voice-mail message for a Miami Herald manager in which he threatened to pull all the city's advertising from Miami's only daily. "This is the mayor of Miami," the message began. "I note that we are subsidizing you and your newspaper with ads related to official notices of the city. If that's the case, I strongly suggest you ... be a lot nicer to me, my people, my citizens, and my city, because otherwise we're going to figure out every possible way of advertising in any possible newspaper except yours."
At present the City of Miami pays the Herald about $200,000 annually to advertise employment opportunities, upcoming meetings, and contract proposals.
New Times publisher Cohen admits that news stories about Suarez's voice-mail message caught his attention. "But I assure you that the timing is just a coincidence," Cohen goes on. "Our decision to accept municipal ads had been in the planning stages for several hours at least. That Mayor Suarez, for whom I have the deepest and most profound respect, may now be willing to advertise in our paper is just a happy accident."
Happy indeed. From this issue forward New Times pledges to highlight the bright side of Miami municipal government (unlike other papers in town, which prattle on incessantly about unpleasant aberrations such as absentee vote fraud). "Our editorial content is not for sale, per se," explains Mullin. "But we're sure we can work out some sort of mutually beneficial arrangement with the esteemed mayor and his outstanding commission."
Concludes Cohen: "We are confident that New Times can help the City of Miami -- or any other municipal government -- reach the kind of clients it wishes to attract. And we give the paper away free! How much more accessible to the public can you get?