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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Miami Herald cutting jobs, pulling plug on their International Edition -finally. But what's the strategy?

Note: Per my past comments of the last few months, Blogger.com seems to be screwing-up the formatting of these posts, as I've already spent over 90 minutes today trying to get it to stay exactly like I want, exactly like it looks in Preview. But it changes the moment I hit "Publish Post."
Until Blogger.com figures out how to solve the problem, if they ever do, for the forseeable future, the posts here will look very different from what I intend.

Screenshots of Charles Perez doing the lead-in on the Miami Herald cuts tonight on Local 10's 6 p.m. newscast, before throwing-it to Michael Putney outside the Herald Building, the wheels and gears of
a press run, the specific numbers involved in today's news, and the official statement from Herald publisher David Landsberg.

My comments follow the article.

Miami Herald

Miami Herald to cut 175 workers, reduce salaries
By John Dorschner
March 11, 2009

The Miami Herald plans to cut 19 percent of its workforce, reduce salaries of those who remain and require one week unpaid furloughs, publisher David Landsberg announced Wednesday morning.

''About 175 employees will lose their jobs as a result, and we will eliminate another 30 vacant positions, for a total reduction of 205. Reductions will occur in all areas of our operation and at every level in the organization,'' Landsberg said in an e-mail to employees.

Remaining full-time employees earning between $25,000 and $50,000 a year will have their pay reduced 5 percent. For employees earning more than $50,000, the pay cut will be 10 percent.

Employees will also lose one week of pay this year through an unpaid furlough program.

As part of the cost cutting, The Miami Herald's presses will be converted to a 44-inch web format and the International Edition will cease publication.

Many of the jobs will happen through involuntary layoffs, but some employees will be offered the chance to voluntarily take severance packages. ''If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the work groups will be reduced either by function or according to least tenure, depending on the work group,'' Landsberg wrote.

The cuts are part of a national move by The Herald's owner, the McClatchy Co., to reduce costs as advertising revenue and circulation continue to decline, a trend that virtually all newspapers in the country are experiencing.

''The decisions about where to reduce jobs have been extremely difficult,'' Landsberg wrote to employees. ``Please know that we have done everything possible to minimize the impact of layoffs by identifying alternative means of saving expenses. . . . While there will be tightening of news pages on various days, we have worked hard to maintain our newspapers at the quality level our readers have come to expect.''

The press conversion is expected to save $2 million a year in newsprint.

Reader comments at:
Came across this particular news online this morning, having already expected as much after having read TIME magazine's interesting piece over the weekend labeled, simply enough,
The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America

Naturally, the Herald actually made THAT Top Ten list, coming in at #3, right after the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a newspaper whose D.C. Bureau I once had a good relationship with, and the Philly Daily News coming in at number one.

(Speaking of TIME magazine, did you know that TIME's Miami Bureau chief was from the capital of Hoosierland, Indianapolis? Oui!
Though he's a Wabash College grad, not an IU grad, Timothy Padgett is a damn good reporter, as almost any of his thoughtful analysis pieces, especially those on Latin America, like his recent ones on Cuba and Brazil prove in just a few sentences.
Tim really knows how to tell a story!

In the view of many people I know here in South Florida, including some veteran TV reporters and network correspondents, all of whom, like me, really want the Herald to be MUCH better than it is, i.e. assertive in ways that more closely resembled traditional notions of what a metro paper ought to be like, and what the Herald was like in the '70's and early ''80's, today marks the end of a very bad idea that lived longer than it had any right to.

That is, the Herald foolishly persisting for years in producing an international edition that you could buy in large South American cities, even after the advent of the internet.

It seemed to be a poorly thought-out, grand-fathered vanity project that might've served a legitimate purpose in the late '70's and early '80's, if you consider impressing foreign advertisers
and govt. officials legitimate, but which served none once every newspaper and public policy journal of consequence was online.

Especially when you are doing such a very poor job of covering local municipal govt. in your own area of the world, where, oh-by-the-way, 99.9% of your readers are.

To me, it only showed how truly desperate the Herald was to be STILL considered an international player of consequence, when the truth is, with the exception of someone like Tyler Bridges who I think is usually pretty good and often has unusual takes on a situation in Latin America- their international or Latin America correspondents are a shadow of what they were when I was growing-up down here, when the Herald really had a team of truly great correspondents, like Don Bohning.

(I can still remember reading his stories on the aftermath of the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana at my desk, my senior year of high school at NMBHS, before my first class started at 7 a.m., Fourth-year French with Pearl Chiari, a fabulous teacher who did so much for me and so many other students at NMB .)

Since I returned to South Florida from the DC area five years ago, the Herald was still running occasional print ads showing where you could purchase it in Caracas, Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires, et al, even while their Letters to the Editor was printing letters from longtime Herald subscribers who were VERY upset to discover the Herald would no longer be distributed in Palm Beach County.
So, you could buy the Herald in Argentina but not in Palm Beach?

That certainly explains a lot, don't you think?

Late yesterday afternoon, while I was at Hollywood City Hall, waiting to go into the City Commission Chambers and hear the much-anticipated Bernard Zyscovich vision for Downtown Hollywood -which I'll be writing about very soon- I was reading the Business section of the New York Times.

The last article I read before heading in?
This one by Richard Perez-Pena headlined, McClatchy Plans to Cut 15% of Staff.

The very last sentence said simply, "McClatchy's stock, which traded above $60 a share before its offer for Knight-Ridder, closed Monday at 41 cents."
Nine cents less than a copy of the newspaper.

For more on the situation at the Herald, see what blogger Henry Gomez has to say over at Herald Watch at http://heraldwatch.blogspot.com/, and take a peek at what's cooking over at McClatchy Watch at http://cancelthebee.blogspot.com/, both of which
I've always had as blog links on Hallandale Beach Blog and South Beach Hoosier.

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#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Thumbs up! What a night we had! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016

Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

A post shared by Gisele Bündchen (@gisele) on

North Miami Beach High school alumni

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.