Miami Herald: Sinking Like a Rock

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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