Wednesday July 5, 2006
Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the passing of the reigns over at the Miami Herald last week. The sale from Knight-Ridder to McClatchy has now been executed, and we’re now officially in the hands of the new guys. This all happened very quietly in the newspaper, with just one little article suggesting plans for the web site, and a feel-good opinion post about how great everyone is, what an opportunity this presents, blah blah blah.
The mood inside the newsroom (yes, I know about these things) has been one of cautious optimism; nobody’s sure what McClatchy’s going to do, but they’re mostly glad to see Knight-Ridder gone. What with the, shall we say unsettled state of the newspaper industry, everybody knows that new thinking is required, and McClatchy is seen as maybe being capable of some new thinking. We can check out the sites of the Star Tribune and Modesto Bee to see what they like to do. The main thing to notice is how different the sites are, which lends credence to the “reflect regional design and flavor” line. Let’s hope they fix what’s broken (the archives, the search, browsing of past issues) and not what ain’t.
In one of my regular lashings of the Herald, I suggested that the newspaper (and maybe all newspapers) should be run as non-profit organizations (I’ve since learned that the St. Petersburg Times is run by a non-profit). Well, that’s obviously not going to happen now. Still, this is interesting: the Herald building is on the cover of the most recent McClatchy magazine. It turns out that the paper is now the biggest in the organization’s portfolio (total: 39 papers). Maybe being the flagship has its privileges. Maybe the Herald will be given some opportunities and resources to really stretch out and look at what a newspaper is in the internet age. Hopefully it’s more then just crappy little online videos and photo slideshows. One person I spoke to at the Herald used the phrase “manage the decline,” and I hope that isn’t true. We need information, and if the Herald can focus on the local, and look at ways to use the internet properly, there’s no reason for any decline except in paper pulp consumption.comments powered by Disqus