PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The old Miami Herald was a powerhouse. Widely read, widely respected and making big money.
But along came the Internet, stealing eyeballs and advertising.
“We need to know what’s going on in the community. What’s going on that’s good. What’s going on that’s not good. But people are now relying frankly on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram...” says David Lawrence, former Miami Herald publisher.
Lawrence was the Herald’s publisher in its salad days. He had 420 newsroom employees and 100 more at El Nuevo Herald.
Then the long slide began. The Herald sold its signature building downtown for $236 million and moved to Doral in 2013.
And now it’s moving from Doral to ... well, who knows?
Herald editor and publisher Mindy Marques broke the news Wednesday, writing, “As the business model in our industry continues to change, and due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, we continue to face severe financial headwinds. In this move, we are investing in people over place.”
She wrote that the paper will leave its Doral offices in August and the staff will work remotely for the rest of the year. After the new year, the Herald will look for a new permanent home.
The 80 or so news people still at the Herald are doing some excellent work.
“I think the Herald has done a magnificent job on coverage of the effect of the coronavirus in this state and this community,” Lawrence said. “I think it has done an absolutely magnificent job in the George Floyd story.”
But the newspaper’s future is dim. A hedge fund more interested in profit than journalism is intent on taking over McClatchy, the Herald’s parent company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February.
Dear Herald readers: We need your help. A hedge fund, Chatham, is pushing to take over our parent company @mcclatchy in bankruptcy court. This would be a disaster for local journalism in South Florida. Please sign our petition urging the judge to reject it:https://t.co/3K1MvZPYJ4— One Herald Guild 🏝 (@OneHeraldGuild) June 9, 2020
“The loss of the Herald in the extent that it is lost — and I have not surrendered — I think is tragic for this community and not good for this country,” Lawrence said.
Local 10 News requested an interview with Marques for this story but was told that she was unavailable Thursday.