It was a good paper 15 years ago. And despite some subsequent slippage, there were real signs of life. I thought hiring DeFede was a great move a few years ago; firing him was super-stupid. Other than Fred Grimm and the soon-to-be departed Ana Menendez, who still shine, the local section, which used to be the best part, is a five-minute read. If the kids didn't like the comics so much, I'm not sure I'd keep my subscription.
The Miami Herald has gotten pretty dull.
And the sign of the times that makes me think it's not going to get better isn't the 17% cut in staff detailed at How will staff cuts affect The Miami Herald?, although that's sure to hurt, but rather this gem in the same article:
… a group of 15 distinguished Miami-Dade County leaders quietly have been meeting on their own over the past four months to make recommendations for what they think The Miami Herald should be.
Miami is a diverse, fragmented community with many media options, but because of its wide circulation, The Miami Herald can be the glue that holds us all together, one of the group s members, Florida International University President Mitch Maidique, explained.
Other members include United Way President Harv Mogul; UM trustee and Coral Gables attorney Dean Colson; Marvin O'Quinn, chief executive of Jackson Memorial Hospital; UM President Donna Shalala; Miami-Dade County School Superintendent Rudy Crew; attorney Aaron Podhurst; and Flagler Development Group President Adolfo Henriques.
The Herald didn't pick this committee, but I am pretty sure they'll get a very respectful listen. And the makup of this group exemplifies what's wrong with the Herald. This is not a challenge-the-status-quo kind of a club. But if you want to sell papers, you have to give voice to the afflicted and afflict the powerful.
Want to fix the Herald? Start by putting the guys at Eye on Miami in charge of the Metro section. Or at least give them serious column inches and the power to assign a couple reporters.
President Shalala can be an iconoclast when she wants to be. I wish I thought there were any chance she'd recommend the Herald hire Genius of Despair and Gimleteye. It's hard to see how anything less radical can save the paper.