Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Real estate bust hurts Herald

According to this Editor & Publisher piece, the bust in the real estate market has disproportionately hurt papers in Florida including the Herald. Additionally there's this:

"I am the No. 1 fan-for-life of the Miami Herald, but it just doesn't have those second- and third-string players, that deep bench, that it used to," [FIU associate journalism professor, Gregg] Fields says. "My Neighbors section often has not one single story from my actual neighborhood. The Herald is absolutely filled with dozens of talented people, but there are far fewer than there were."

Beyond that, Fields says, Florida's newspapers haven't seized the opportunity of the housing crash to assert themselves as leaders helping the community make sense of the situation. That journalistic inaction contrasts with newspapers' performance after Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida in 1992. "Hurricane Andrew was our 9/11," he says, "and the Herald just performed masterfully. It really reasserted its institutional dominance. I don't feel that way about any of the newspapers now. They are so much more focused on cash flow and head count — and the traditional role of steward is gone by the wayside."

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