IMPORTANT UPDATE @ 9:30pm: I just got off the phone with Miami New Times on-line editor Jose Duran who commented on part of this post. (see below)
In putting this post together I used a quote from a source who told me that New Times used to pay photographers $150 for on-line slide shows but was now paying $30. That information was erroneous.
Jose tells me that a few other papers in the New Times chain do pay $30 to less experienced photographers for slide shows. However that's not the case here in Miami.
Jose says that he pays based on the photographer's experience but rarely pays less than $100 for slide show.
Jose further explains that he has a weekly budget for freelancers and keeps a tight rein on expenses.
Jose also told me that when he took over as on-line editor at New Times earlier this year he re-examined closely what freelancers were being paid. Wanting to get as much bang for his buck as possible he re-adjusted some freelance rates downward. Jose says that he made that decision entirely on his own and not because of any edict from New Times higher ups. Jose believes that his freelance rates are still fair.
So thanks Jose for setting the record straight. It's not my intention here to pass along bad information.
Miami's scrappy and outspoken free-weekly New Times loves to cover controversy and dig up stuff that Miami's mainstream media ignores or just refuses to report.
They're Miami's journalistic equivalent of a turd-in-a-punch-bowl.
But one story they've shied away from is the one that's happening in their own backyard.
It's a story that both the Miami and Broward editions of New Times have avoided. Even Broward New Times press watchdog Bob Norman has been uncharacteristically silent.
As far as I can tell neither paper has printed one word about the deep financial doo-doo that New Times' parent company Village Voice Media finds itself mired in.
But a source tells Random Pixels that Miami New Times is cutting back on freelancer expenses and now only pay shooters $30 for an on-line slide show. "They used to pay $150 and won't use anyone who [now] wants that amount."
Meanwhile New Times' sister paper in New York, the Village Voice, is reportedly "on the balls of its ass financially."
"...expense accounts are essentially a thing of the past. One VV reporter paid out of his own pocket to fly to Ohio and rent a car and a hotel room last week to do a story on the election. Normal after-work events, like a going-away party for an intern at a bar, are being paid out of the editors' own pockets. And, we hear, Voice reporters have been buying their own pens and notebooks because the paper has no extra office supplies."
And just yesterday the Village Voice laid off three more employees "including Nat Hentoff, the prominent columnist who has worked for the paper since 1958, contributing opinionated columns about jazz, civil liberties and politics."
Back in Miami my source predicts that Miami New Times and its Broward sister will merge within six months.
My tipster can't say however, if or when Miami New Times will get around to reporting this story.