This year it has been falling one by one Miami Herald, Miami’s centuries-old newspaper about records. Bankruptcy, layoffs, the loss of the building and numerous scandals have ravaged the paper over the past eight months, demoralizing its staff on multiple fronts.
It’s February Heraldparent company, McClatchy, filed for bankruptcy after a year of declining revenue from print advertising. The announcement followed a significant reduction in the number of staff in Herald and other McClatchy works, including offer for 2019 redemption for 225 employees across McClatchy.
Chatham Asset Management, a New Jersey-based Living Fund, was bought by McClatchy and his estates in August, despite the efforts of the editorial board, One Herald Guild, find another customer. (Hedge funds like Chatham are known for purchase of news chains just to reduce their operating costs.)
“This was an invigorating and extremely challenging time. We felt like we were under siege,” says Mary Ellen Klas, Heraldhead of the capital’s office and co-chair of the Guild One Herald. “There’s a huge uncertainty in which direction this will mean for us.”
During a pandemic, ad revenue has increased dramatically, leaving many newspapers in the same vulnerable position as Herald: open for purchase by hedge funds or there is a risk of closing the store.
On top of that noise, Herald withstood the reaction and media attention caused by two scandals that took place on social networks.
In late August, sports columnist Armando Salguero tweeted his disdain for athletes protesting racial injustice and police violence and shared a link to an article falsely claiming that The so-called compromise of three-fifths of the American constitution was “anti-slavery.”
Herald publisher and executive editor Mindy Marques responded that columnists have more space than journalists to express their opinions on social media, a statement that led to negative reader feedback. Inside Herald alone, employees condemned Salguero’s comment as racist, which led many journalists to call for deeper conversations about race in the newsroom.
Just two weeks after the Salguer fiasco, a reader discovered the supplement in a magazine issue Miami Herald,, Heralda Spanish-language publication that included racist and anti-Semitic remarks.
The insert, the so-called “FREE” it included a column comparing the Essence of Black Lives and Antifas to the Nazis and condemning Jews who supported the groups.
“What kind of people are these Jews? They always talk about the Holocaust, but they have already forgotten Crystal night, when murderous Nazis destroyed Jewish affairs throughout Germany, “wrote columnist Roberto Luque Escalona in Spanish.” BLM and Antifa do the same, only the Nazis did not steal, but only destroyed. “
FREE is a Spanish publication he leads Demetrio Perez Jr., who was at one time placed under house arrest due to overpayment of elderly tenants and submitting false reports to the government to receive subsidy payments.
Racist FREE column – and the fact that he would stumble upon a magazine run by a criminal El Nuevo Herald – stringed fierce retaliation from readers and local politicians on social media. Many condemned the article and criticized it Miami Herald to distribute copies FREE.
As a Jew, a Latin American Democrat, but mostly as a man, that is unacceptable!
All of us – regardless of party affiliation – have an obligation to reject and condemn this anti-Semitic and racist message that should have no place in American politics! #DemCast #DemCastFL https://t.co/RV5coLeSgH
– Annette Taddeo (She / She / Ella) (@Annette_Taddeo) September 12, 2020
Days later, Marques and Miami Herald published by Editor-in-Chief Nancy San Martín common column explaining that the paper had a contractual contract for the publication and distribution of copies FREE in Friday editions from January.
After reviewing a few copies FREE from earlier this year and finding similar cases of racist content, Marques and San Martín wrote that they had severed ties with FREE and would never print his material again.
Marques temporarily moved away from Herald, according to the emails he received New Times.
A McClatchy spokesman says so New Times via email Marques remains the publisher and executive editor and that she actively participated in the internal review of the situation. It’s yesterday Herald published the results of his investigation, finding that for the paid insert “there was no formal content check”.
With the intense, polarizing energy of the moment that leaves everything on edge, many people have expressed disappointment Herald, and several readers have threatened to unsubscribe in light of recent controversy.
For journalists news from Herald who have continued to work amid an unprecedented pandemic, significant racial justice protests and one of the most listened to election seasons in recent times, this year has posed a number of challenges.
Ovalle speaks New Times to staff in Herald it became even firmer after budget cuts left the newsroom with a slice of the journalists it once had. He says yes though Herald has had a fair share of controversy over the years, his reporters have always continued to do good journalism.
Despite this, recent controversies with Salguer and FREE they dealt a new blow to morale.
“You look at it and you feel so disappointed because it looks so useless,” Ovalle says. “The reporters did a really good job and they collaborated well. When those things come up, it becomes disturbing because it distracts from the work we’ve done.”
Some employees expressed shock and disappointment over Heraldresponses to controversy, especially at a time when many face the reality of systemic racism.
A Herald reports a journalist who asked not to be named New Times that outbursts from Salguero’s tweets revealed problems in the newsroom and the way the company responds to racing questions.
“The company’s response, especially to Armando [Salguero], was completely inadequate. The company does not understand how important the problems of structural racism are – not only in the places we cover, but also in our own workplace, “they erode the quality and reputation of the brand, which affects the credibility of our work.”
The journalist shared his frustration with how Herald has covered color communities in the past, saying that sometimes more energy is invested in reporting in predominantly white neighborhoods rather than in black communities.
The silver lining in public broadcasts of dirty laundry is a concentrated effort Herald staff to reconsider how it covers Miami, the reporter shared.
“There’s a new awareness in the newsroom, and management understands that we need to reshape reporting. We’re not just writing for Coral Gables,” the reporter said.
Still, Salguero tweets and FREE the mistake left many with bad taste in their mouths, forcing journalists who had nothing to do with situations to pick up the pieces.
“I know people feel like they’re sending a message by unsubscribing, but I’d like them to think about speaking out in public or writing a letter to the publisher and CEO instead,” the reporter says. “[The cancelations] hurt the newspaper and in turn harmed the community and its ability to be well informed. “
Ovalle recalls those feelings, asking the community to continue to hold them Herald responsible, but have patience as journalists work to improve themselves and adjust to an unprecedented moment.
“No one can look FREE thing and not to say that we stuck our foot in it …. I ask people to be patient and keep reading. Don’t lose sight of our important service to readers, ”Ovalle says.
For Class, what’s going on Herald is indicative of what is happening in newspapers across the country with which it is reconciling own shortcomings involving race, deal with significantly reduced staff and try to make money when print ads become obsolete.
“Here’s the industry. We’re a perfect example of this similar anxiety about coverage, the challenge of making money when our business model died and when you need to sign up for inserts contracts,” says Klas. “A lot of other news organizations will look at us and check what they’re doing.”
The class hopes for the spirit Herald journalists will continue to drive newspapers through frustrating times. She believes internal talks and change efforts will restore the community’s confidence in the paper, which has covered Miami for decades, and its place in national stories, including Watergate,, 9/11and current pandemic.
“What inspires me is that everyone breaks through and realizes that if you work in Herald, you work there because you believe in it. There is a passionate commitment, from management to reporting lines, ”says Klas.