Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Miami New Times silent on its own future!

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.


  1. Damn you, Random Pixels, just when they said you had one of the best blogs in Miami.

    But seriously, $30 for a slideshow is ridiculous.

    Especially considering it remains online permanently and can be viewed by people worldwide.

  2. Good story, RP.

    I just want to remind everyone, Miami Beach 411 pays freelance writers and shooters.

    We are currently looking to publish a photo essay of Miami during the Marial Boatlift to accompany an upcoming article. Our photo budget is $150.

    If anyone has pictures, please contact me. Otherwise, we'll have steal pictures from Flickr. Just kidding.

  3. Not to hijack this thread, but Gus never fails to pay a fair wage for content.

    The more I think about this $30 slideshow, the more it pisses me off.

    That's an extremely low rate for even one photo.

    I really hope local photographers refuse to accept that rate because in this day and age, we can publish our photos on our own blogs.

    We might lose out on the $30 but we'll be doing it for ourselves, not for some huge media corporation that can surely pay more.

  4. As the web editor who assigns the online slideshows I've never paid anyone $30 for an online slideshow. Rates depend on experience. Who ever told you that lied to you. It's pretty easy to pick up the phone and ask me.

  5. Even $150 is questionable if a shooter has any modicum of talent.

    I'd love to know what New Times offers for copyright terms.

    $150 and non-exclusive, I hope.

    If it's $150 exclusive, fuck off.

  6. Bob Norman actually covered this the day after your post. Maybe you caused it...


Feel free to comment on anything you read here.

All comments must first be approved. Spam and spam links will not be tolerated or approved.