Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thinking about the Herald

"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" -Mark Twain
I'm sure even at this late hour there are probably a few people in Miami who haven't heard of the latest round of job cuts at the Miami Herald.

For some, there just isn't the emotional attachment to print newspapers that many of us old timers feel.

The Herald has been part of my life since my family first moved to Miami in the latter part of 1958.

I've been reading the Herald longer than just about all of the current Herald employees have been working there.

As a young boy, I sold the Sunday Herald at several busy South Florida Shopping centers.

When the Herald moved into its new building at One Herald Plaza in March of 1963 it marked the occasion with a special four-section edition.

The Herald was proud of its new plant and hired uniformed hostesses to conduct daily tours. At the time the facility was considered to be state of the art in the newspaper industry.

In the 60's and 70's and well into the 80's the Herald was a newspaper that was respected, admired, feared or despised, depending on who you talked to.

Its reach was all-encompassing.

It had dozens of bureaus all over the state. Miami Herald news racks dotted sidewalks from Key West to Florida's panhandle.

In the mid-70's I worked in the advertising composing department. Back then there were so many housing ads that the Sunday real estate section was comprised of four sections to accommodate them all.

In the early 80's, as a freelance photojournalist, I worked alongside many of the Herald's photographers and still call several of them friends.

I've always had a love-hate relationship with the paper and its approach to coverage of some stories. But I continued to read the print edition daily.

So, I'd like to say I'm optimistic about the future of the paper.

I'd like to say the Herald will survive this latest hit.

But I'd be lying.

Even some long-time Herald staffers who, up until a few months ago told me they wanted to end their careers at the Herald, are telling me now, "it's over."

I tell friends in half-jest that newspapers started going downhill when they did away with Linotype machines and the old noisy AP teletype machines.

But what happened today at One Herald Plaza might well be the "last hurrah."

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