Headline on front page of Miami Herald, Sunday February 20, 2011
The curse of negative home equity:
Hundreds of thousands of South Floridians are underwater on their mortgages, which could have profound impact on the region’s economic recovery, or lack of.
Headline on front page of Miami Herald, Monday, February 21, 2011:
Miami boat, art shows during Presidents’ Day weekend point to a brighter economy
As thousands pack this weekend’s boat and art shows, and fill hotels and restaurants in South Florida, all signs point to an economy on the upswing.
“[A]ll signs point to an economy on the upswing”???
It’s hard to see the headline on the fluff piece in today’s paper — and its placement as the lead story top of the fold — as anything other than a corrective for yesterday’s serious journalism which was a solid article and a welcome antidote to the Herald’s generally boosterish coverage of the local businesses that advertise in it.
The actual article today is a perfectly standard feature story on the Boat Show. It’s the unwarranted headline and the ridiculous placement on a day when revolutions continue in the Middle East and the US hurtles towards a government shutdown that make me suspect the editors.
Yes, the blatantly contradictory headlines are a problem, but I don’t think the placement of the boat show story and headline are an issue. In fact, I applaud the Herald for keeping local.
The fact is, the Herald will never be able to compete with other media sources on “big issues” like the situation in the middle east. If they try to compete in that game, they will lose. What then to do? My suggestion is to go hyper-local. Write stories that people: 1) want to read (obvious enough), and 2) can’t get elsewhere. The New York Times and CNN don’t care about the Boat Show, and local bloggers don’t cover enough ground. Good coverage of the boat show, the Grove Art Festival,, local elections, corruption in local government, local sports (not just the Heat and the Dolphins), etc. are examples of the kinds of stories that will keep the Herald relevant.
The old newspaper model is dead – and long dead for papers like the Herald.
Also, the headlines are not necessarily contradictory. It is not unreasonable to assume that some economic indicators are pointing towards recovery and others towards economic hardship. Theoretically, the Herald could be running a sort of point/counterpoint series of articles on the area’s economic prospects. Of course, the statement “all signs point to an economy on the upswing” is a problem on the heels of yesterday’s negative home equity story.