Perhaps after a long, stressful day of crunching numbers and contemplating layoffs, some Miami Herald executive decided to go for a walk to clear his head. This being Miami and all, he came across a beggar asking for spare change. Wait, he could have thought, Maybe we have it all wrong. Did this beggar lay off a big chunk of his newsroom? No. Does he have to walk a fine line of keeping some semblance of journalistic excellence while pleasing readers and advertisers? No. Does he have to deal with the ongoing onslaught of new media in the face of economic recession? No, he sure doesn't. Maybe, just maybe, we should consider entering the begging business ourselves.
So now your Miami Herald is politely asking for donations for online content. Poynter Online noticed a new link at the bottom of Herald web stories asking for donations. It takes you to a form stating, "If you value The Miami Herald's local news reporting and investigations, but prefer the convenience of the Internet, please consider a voluntary payment for the web news that matters to you."
Newspapers for years have been struggling to find ways to get consumers to pay for online content, largely unsuccessfully. The Herald already takes many articles offline after about two weeks and then charges for access to its archives and offers a digital version of the paper for $1.99 a month. Thankfully, the Herald hasn't charged for current news and tells NBCMiami there's no plans to start.