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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Miami Herald HQ is now taking in 'boarders'; David Carr on future of newspapers

My comments follow the article. 
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March 10, 2009

Brown Mackie moves to Miami Herald building

The bayfront headquarters of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald now also will be home to Brown Mackie College. The Miami media company is leasing more than half its top floor to the private school in a move to generate revenues amid a severe recession.

The college's lease of 51,000 square feet ranks among the biggest downtown Miami office deals this year. The under-construction Met 2 office building announced a 50,000-square-foot lease with accounting and advisory firm Deloitte earlier this year.

The Brown Mackie deal, brokered by Alan Kleber at Cushman & Wakefield and Steven Hurwitz at CREC, is for 10 years. Prices weren't disclosed but said to be in the low $30-a-square-foot range.

Brown Mackie, which has outposts from Tuscon, Ariz., to Akron, Ohio, plans to open at the new location in September. The college offers associate degrees and bachelor's of science degrees in programs such as business management, early childhood education and computer technology. The Miami school has roughly 750 students.

Reader comments at:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/story/943097.html?commentSort=TimeStampAscending&pageNum=1#Comments_Container

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The Miami Herald article above was placed online at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday night, and was sent to me by a reporter friend at the Herald who'd written, "Meet our new neighbors" in the subject header.
Actually, I think they were kind of disappointed that it wasn't at least a hospitality school with cooking facilities, like Johnson & Wales, with one of those faux restaurants,  so the reporters could at least get some good food for cheap, even while serving as guinea pigs.

My own thought, why not a quality bookstore, taking advantage of that great view of Biscayne Bay?
As a kid in high school, I used to spend LOTS of time every month at the late Cox newspaper,
The Miami News, that was in the same building, as part of their JOA, and fortunately for me,
the Sports Dept. and the Entertainment desks were right near the windows with their awesome views.

It may be different now, but back then, the mid-to-late '70's, during powerful summer thunderstorms, 
being near that window meant the thunder sounded THREE times normal volume, and would positively
make you jumpy after a few hours, plus, the view looked like you were watching the end of the world
with ominous clouds right on top of you.

I specifically mention bookstore because as we all learned in November of 2007, per the Miami Book
Fair International held downtown every year, there was not a single general interest bookstore within the City of Miami?  Es verdad!  http://www.miamibookfair.com/
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Miami Herald

SHOPPING: Miami is a bookstore desert - THE HOME OF NEXT WEEK'S FAIR HAS NO

GENERAL-INTEREST BOOK SHOPS

By Andres Viglucci

November 2, 2007

Next weekend, during Miami Book Fair International, the lecture halls
and streets in and around downtown's Miami Dade College will become
the nation's largest bookstore as mobs of readers snap up 70,000 books
from 300,000 titles on display. 

But if you're looking for a comprehensive, general-interest
 bookstore within city boundaries any other time of the year, buena suerte. There is none. 

You read that right: 
Miami , a major city of more than 360,000 people, has not a single such bookstore anywhere. Not downtown. Not in Coconut Grove. Not in the Upper East Side. There is no Borders, no Barnes & Noble, no multilingual independent beyond a smattering of niche stores. 

"Shocking," said Robert Gibbs, a Michigan-based planner and urban retail consultant who has worked all over the country, including 
Miami . "We even have a Borders in downtown Detroit." 

And there isn't much in the offing, apart from a planned independent store in the Grove. The 
city 's two new retail developments -- Midtown Miami and Mary Brickell Village -- have no bookstores and no immediate prospects. 

Certainly, 
Miami has some well-established specialized booksellers -- among others, Lambda Passages, a gay and lesbian bookstore on upper Biscayne Boulebard and Afro-In Books & Things in Liberty City . It also has a few Spanish-language stores, including Libreria Universal, long a beacon for Cuban literary culture and history on Southwest Eighth Street. 

And there are general-interest 
bookstores aplenty in the suburbs -- from chain stores in Aventura and Kendall to the redoubtable independent Books & Books, with branches in Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Bal Harbour. 

So why should it matter that in 
Miami -- with its diverse population, the region's largest employment center downtown, an ostensibly sophisticated international repute, and a recent wave of intense urban redevelopment -- there's zilch? 

Booksellers, book lovers, retailers and planners say 
bookstores function not just as fulcrums of culture, learning and community, but as key ingredients in a successful mercantile mix in urban commercial centers. 

And can 
Miami claim to be a center of arts, culture and commerce without a major bookstore in its city limits? How can a city have a new half-billion-dollar performing arts center but no bookstore ? 

"I would have thought someone would have put a 
bookstore in there somewhere," said Les Standiford, bestselling author and chairman of Florida International University's creative writing program, referring to new development across the city . 

MANY FACTORS 

Why the lack 
of stores? No one is quite sure, but many factors may play a role, including high rents, a large non-English speaking population and the absence of a retail district with foot traffic sufficiently heavy and deep-pocketed to sustain the low-margin business of bookselling. 

The independent Bookworm in the Grove is but a distant memory. More recently, chain stores pulled out 
of Bayside Marketplace downtown and Cocowalk in the Grove. 

"It's tough," said 
Miami Book Fair co-founder Raquel Roque, owner of the tiny Downtown Book Center, which her father opened in 1965 after arriving from Cuba. Though she still carries some English-language books, newspapers and magazines, she said, "we've had to switch to Spanish to survive. It just reflects finances and the population." 

Her store's clientele, she said, is mostly now recently arrived immigrants looking for English-instruction books and bargain novels. She keeps the doors open thanks to a thriving wholesale Spanish-language book distribution business. 

Other Spanish-language 
bookstores in the city also look beyond a local clientele to Web sales. Customers for Libreria Universal's broad stock of Cuba-related books are all over the country, said owner Juan Manuel Salvat. 

The trend is clear, Salvat said: General-interest 
bookstores , especially those trading principally in English, have gone where the biggest concentrations ofbook-buyers are, in well-off enclaves like Pinecrest, Coral Gables and Aventura. 

Census estimates tell part 
of the story. Book-buying is closely linked to education, experts say. In 2006, only 22 percent of adult Miamians had a bachelor's degree. In Coral Gables, it was 58 percent. 

Chain stores in particular have developed location formulas that demand lots 
of well-heeled, well-educated people, said Gibbs, the Michigan consultant: within a five-mile radius, 75,000 people with a bachelor's degree or higher and annual incomes of $75,000 or more. 

They also require several contiguous anchor stores selling clothing and home furnishings, and as many as 10 restaurants, he said. "They can't work by themselves," Gibbs said. "All 
of those retailers reinforce each other." 

But 
Miami has long suffered a shortage of retail of all stripes, from supermarkets to clothing stores. 

That has prompted an effort by 
Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to lure new stores to the city . High on the wish list: a bookstore , said Diaz' retail consultant, John Talmage, CEO of Social Compact, a nonprofit that promotes investment in inner- city areas. 

"It's hard to say you are a literate, knowledge-based community if books are not part 
of the mix," Talmage said. 

The best option for 
Miami , Talmage and others say: independents who can tailor themselves to the local market. 

A COMMUNITY SERVICE 

That's what Felice Dubin hopes to do in Coconut Grove, where giant Borders couldn't make the numbers work. The longtime Groveite and Village Council member and a business partner, Sandy Francis, are installing a 
bookstore in the old Banana Republic space on a prime corner on Grand Avenue . 

Call it a community service, said Dubin, who has no bookselling experience. The 
Bookstore in the Grove will have not only books but a bar serving wine and organic free-trade coffee, unusual gifts, and toys for a targeted clientele of both locals and tourists. 

"We're working every angle," said Dubin, who hopes to open by Thanksgiving. "Everybody is so desperately wanting a 
bookstore that, if we're any good at all, people will come." 

The rest 
of the city will eventually catch up, others say, maybe once downtown's new condo towers fill up. 

"There will be 
bookstores in the city of Miami ," said Books & Books owner, Mitchell Kaplan, who has considered Miami but hasn't found a viable site. "It will have to be something so powerful it becomes a destination by itself. But it's just a matter of when and how."


Alan D. Mutter's Sunday blog posting at his Reflections of Newsosaur site was particularly fantastic and
really had me sighing and laughing, and gave me a lot to think about.
http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/  Want to save your local paper? Read this  first 

Mostly, it made me think of all the hours I spent at the IU Library cafeteria on Sunday nights, especially after the last NFL game of the day during the winter, talking and and listening to my friends who were either journalism students at the Ernie Pyle School or on the school newspaper, the ids, or both.

As I've mentioned here before, since we were a pretty well-read crew, on Sundays, most of us had usually polished off the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Chicago Tribune and the Indy Star, so by the time we made it down to the cafeteria, we were like eager Editorial Board members, ready to diagnose and solve most of the problems on campus and in Bloomington -and the NFL- over Cokes, cheeseburgers and slices of pizza.
After we'd done that, some would wax rhapsodic about someday starting a newspaper that would be different and innovative and...
Yes, we were all going to be smart and savvy vertically-integrated media moguls who'd sometimes dabble in sports ownership.
Of course, I didn't know Marc Cuban back then.

Alan's Sunday post clearly shows what happens when people with good intentions get into the newspaper biz... It literally takes over their lives and their finances and affects everything they do, good and bad..

Another interesting perspective on what's happened to local news coverage is this one from Gary Imhoff, editor of the feisty DC Watch, on the coverage in Washington, D.C. since I left the area, and from DC Watch contributor Jason Lee-Bakke on what happens when a powerful-but-useless DC pol threatens a tiny neighborhood newspaper that reports/exposes his longstanding incompetency and apathy, compared to his colleagues.  http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/2009/09-03-04.htm
 
I also encourage you to read all the reader comments to David Carr's excellent New York Times article
from Monday on the futures of American newspapers that quoted Alan, United, Newspapers May Stand
Readers comments at:

There were some spot-on comments there reminding everyone that many papers have all but given
up the ghost when it comes to being serious local news hounds, and are now just the middlemen
in handing readers over to advertisers, as this excerpt from Times Reader #3 says:

Yes, newspapers need to start getting their share of revenue from freeloading aggregators.
However, this idea that charging subscriptions online will ultimately keep papers afloat is
totally ludicrous. Newspapers don't sell news - they sell audiences to their advertisers. 
They're losing, because they've failed to do so. Charging for content will only drive readers away
- The Wall Street Journal might be able to pull that off, but the San Francisco Chronicle just can't.

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If you're not that familiar with The Miami News, a great overview is available at:
History of The Miami News (1896-1987) by Howard Kleinberg, Tequesta, 1987
http://digitalcollections.fiu.edu/tequesta/files/1987/87_1_01.pdf

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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.