Who We Are
Miami New Times and New Times Broward-Palm Beach are independent local publications whose small but scrappy staffs of journalists have covered South Florida with passion and professionalism since 1987.
Beginning with the first Miami New Times that rolled off the press that year, New Times has been free to our readers. We remain dedicated to providing our reported local journalism to everyone at no charge, regardless of their financial status.
How can we do it? We've always relied on advertisers to generate the revenues that make our rent and pay our staff. Most of those advertisers were local mom 'n' pops, and their support meant we were able to give our newspapers away. We've never put up an online paywall, either.
That advertiser-supported model worked very well for a very long time, helping us endure severe economic downturns from the dot-com bubble burst of the early 2000s to the Great Recession of 2008. We were able to bounce back from those setbacks because as local businesses recovered, they started advertising again and we all made it.
Through it all, New Times has embraced change. In the late 1990s, we were among the first alt-weeklies to commit to digital journalism, restructuring our workflow to publish stories web-first. That decision turned us into something we'd never been: a daily newsroom. Through the aughts, we continued to build our online presence, publishing multiple stories each day about local news, music, arts and food. For the first time, we were competing against the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for breaking news -- and often winning.
Another change occurred in 2013, when a group of longtime employees purchased New Times' parent company from its original owners, whose success in Phoenix had led them to build the nation's largest chain of alternative weekly publications. Faced with an array of challenges posed by a bruising business environment for media organizations, the new company, Voice Media Group, set about shoring up pillar publications like New Times, rededicating itself to their success and their survival. Several out-of-state publications were sold, and a new digital marketing agency was created to generate new revenue streams. A commitment was made to distribute our journalism widely on social media platforms, engaging readers where they lived.
One result of New Times' forward-looking approach was a growing number of readers who didn't necessarily live in South Florida but appreciated what we were doing. Whereas in the early days of print our distribution was limited to the I-95 corridor -- thanks to those eye-catching red-and-yellow newsracks! -- our stories were now available to anyone with an internet connection. Some of these readers were Sunshine State expats longing to read about their hometown. But many were people whose connection to our journalism was more gut-level than it was geographic. Just like our loyal hometown supporters, they were drawn to our pointed coverage of immigration and other hot-button political issues, our freewheeling approach to writing about pop-culture, our sophisticated understanding of the city's ever-evolving restaurant scene, and our irreverence and willingness to highlight Miami and Fort Lauderdale's most creative spirits.
Innovation stems from talent. And talent is one thing New Times has always had in abundance. From the start, we've hired a special breed of reporter. Our music and arts sections have offered the city's sharpest perspective on Miami culture thanks to writers like Jose Duran, Kat Bein, Ben Greenman, Judy Cantor and Celeste Fraser Delgado. Culinary experts such as Laine Doss, Jen Karetnick, Lee Klein, Rafael Navarro and Gail Shepherd helped us chronicle the dazzling evolution of the local restaurant scene, from sleepy tropical backwater to global dining destination.
Over the years our news and feature writers -- people like Steve Almond, Jim DeFede, Tristram Korten, Bob Norman, Ashley Harrell, Lisa Rab, Meg O'Connor and Gus Garcia-Roberts -- have regularly taken home national and regional journalism awards. Seven New Times writers have been finalists in the Livingston Awards, the nation's most prestigious honor for young journalists, and our commitment to develop rising journalistic talent hasn't gone unnoticed. Former staff writers Kirk Semple and Jacob Bernstein are now at the New York Times, and five New Times writers have been hired away by the Washington Post just in the past six years. We've had some fun along the way, such as when we punked mayors across the country by getting them to bid on relocating the baseball Marlins at a time when former owner H. Wayne Huizenga was shamelessly trying to unload the struggling club.
The State of Media Today
For several years now, media organizations large and small have been hit by a perfect storm of financial pressures. As readers shifted from print to online, advertising rates dropped steeply. Tech giants began sucking up most of the remaining local advertising dollars. More recently, huge numbers of our advertisers have either closed entirely or temporarily stopped spending in the wake of the coronavirus. That has led us to completely rethink how we operate. We remain committed to keeping our journalism free and avoiding paywalls or mandatory subscriptions. But the long-term challenges organizations like ours face in generating advertising dollars aren't going away. That's why we're now working toward a goal of generating at least as much revenue from readers as we do from advertisers.
Today we remain dedicated to developing local journalistic talent -- and to figuring out how to keep growing at a time of great challenges in the media business. We want to grow the right way -- by doubling down on our commitment to serving our readers, without whom we couldn't do what we do. If we can keep writing stories that are important to you, and that tell you important things about the city we all love, we think we can survive this latest crisis, too.
Some core beliefs underpin that effort. We believe that in a modern age of disinformation when a large part of society is openly at war with the press, it's more important than ever for cities to have locally based reporters keeping an eye on the powers that be. We believe that fact-based reporting can help people see through the cynicism so prevalent in modern politics and inspire in them a more hopeful approach to participatory democracy. Our standard in framing and reporting stories is intellectual honesty. A crook is a crook, a liar is a liar, a hero is a hero, and these are demonstrable things.
We're the publications whose venerable former editor-in-chief, Jim Mullin, rallied his staff in 2002 to chronicle the real-life impacts when Miami was named the poorest big city in America; whose staff in 2005 created the definitive story of how cocaine made Miami; whose managing editor Tim Elfrink in 2013 blew the lid off the Biogenesis scandal, exposing the fact that a Miami clinic was providing banned drugs to some of Major League Baseball's biggest stars. In 2002, our Bob Norman was the first American journalist to reveal how lapses on the part of federal immigration authorities allowed several 9/11 terrorists into the country.
But from the beginning New Times has been about more than hard news. We also believe in celebrating South Florida culture, covering the region's music, arts and dining scenes with the same attention to detail that we devote to our news stories. We've introduced you to the saddest man at the Bruce Springsteen concert; provided an oral history of the city's most celebrated dive-bar, Mac's Club Deuce; walked you through Miami's Top 100 restaurants; and trained a spotlight on the city's cultural gems each year with our Best of Miami issue.
What You Can Do to Help
We're calling our membership campaign "I Support," and we're basing it on a simple premise: Good local journalism requires interest and demand from engaged local readers, and we know we have a loyal audience that wants to support our efforts.
We want to keep covering South Florida the way it deserves to be covered. That means remaining independent and avoiding paywalls -- but still bringing in enough money to fund our journalism.
You can help by contributing as little as $1, or by signing up for one or more of our email newsletters. And if you commit to becoming a monthly or annual recurring member, we'll throw in something extra: an absolutely ad-free online reading experience. That means you can read your favorite New Times news, music, food and arts stories with no digital interruptions.
We'll put whatever money you contribute toward producing high-quality local journalism. That makes you our first step in developing a viable, reader-funded editorial model.