A Sad Week For Newspapers






It is a very bad week for newspaper journalism.

The Miami Herald, once was one of the nation’s great newspapers, appears to have cut its news hole and disguised it as a reader-friendly redesign.

The Daily News in New York, once the biggest newspaper in the nation, entered what looks like its final death spiral by decimating its news staff.

The sudden layoffs in New York demolished the heart of the tabloid, its well-read sports section. Fired were many of the sports heavyweights including possibly the nationally known columnist Mike Lupica.


Daily News

Thursday, Sept. 17’s Daily News



What’s a New York tabloid without sports?

I always had a soft spot in my heart for The Daily News, which reminds me of my old New York City home.

I have another connection with The Daily News.  It was once owned by the Tribune Company, the parents of Sun-Sentinel.

In 1990, The Tribune provoked a strike at the paper in an attempt to break the unions.

Howard Greenberg, now publisher of the Sun-Sentinel, was a key figure in this union busting. He was shipped from the Sun-Sentinel to be the New York paper’s circulation director around the time the paper fomented a walkout of union circulation drivers.



Sun-Sentinel’s Howard Greenberg

The circulation department under Greenberg had a problem during the strike. With drivers out on strike and newsstands being threatened if they carried The Daily News, the paper couldn’t be sold.

So Greenberg’s circulation department got scary-looking homeless “squeegee” men to distribute the paper at tunnel and bridge entrances.

(The Sun-Sentinel later used that same circulation tactic of distributing the paper by the homeless to commuters when Greenberg returned to Fort Lauderdale.)

The circulation tactic didn’t work. The Daily News hemorrhaged circulation and never recovered.

The strike cost The Tribune many millions, despite shipping in scabs from the Sun-Sentinel.

The Tribune was forced to dump The Daily News  — actually paying a media tycoon $60 million to take over the paper, settle the strike and assume up to $100 million in job guarantees and other obligations. Plus, it was estimated in the New York Times that that the new owner would need to spend “at least” an additional $50 million to restore The Daily News to pre-strike levels.

That was the beginning of the end. The Internet did the rest.

The Miami Herald faces many of the same problems as the Daily News. It also is attempting to cope with sliding readership and the loss of advertising by cutting its news coverage.

The paper once had a thriving Broward bureau. Today it has almost no presence north of Miami-Dade and its forced to reprint snippets of news from the Sun-Sentinel to cover Broward.

This week, The Miami Herald combined the international, national and local news in one section. It new look is very clean and pretty. The goal, however, seems to be to save money by cutting pages.

Newspaper economics, described by a source that remains close to the South Florida newspaper industry, is estimated to be this:

Each page cut saves approximately $8,000-a-day. That’s almost $3 million annually for each page cut from the news hole.

The new Herald “has clean feel (but its) all about the money they’re saving by taking their readers to the cleaners, so to speak. Less is best…it appears as if the paper is between 6 and 10 pages lighter than usual (with the same devastating lack of ads)…” this source told Browardbeat.com.

The source added sarcastically: “I’m sure (Miami Herald owners) McClatchy will use all that extra cash to hire more reporters and editors.”


The much-trumpeted remake of The Miami Herald is a sad, desperate move. How long before it follows The Daily News and really cuts its staff?

And with Howard Greenberg’s record of being all about the bottom line, how long before the Sun-Sentinel introduces a redesign which is really all about camouflaging more cutbacks?



Redesigned Miami Herald: Clean and pretty, but light on coverage





15 Responses to “A Sad Week For Newspapers”

  1. Stephen Wissink says:

    The page cut savings over a year would be close to $3 million (not $300,000).


    Absolutely right. My mistake. I changed it.

  2. Kevin Cerino says:

    Every newspaper in the country has seen a huge drop in revenue due to the internet. Less revenue means less money to pay reporters. Other than selling their business to a billionaire who is willing to take losses, what is the solution?

  3. westdavieresident says:

    Talking about a death spiral for the Daily News, the Herald is not far behind as it moved its Obituary Section to the first (“A”) section from the former metro section (B) and they even placed the Obits before the Editorial section of “A” so now I can be depressed before getting to their liberal editorials.

    Fortunately, I only pay $ 10 per year for a 7 day digital edition and Sunday print delivery since it now only takes me about 2 minutes to read the paper and maybe 5 if they have an article of interest.


    The fact that you pay $10 for seven day digital and Sunday’s print speaks volumes, doesn’t it? There is no way the Herald can continue to pay experienced, knowledgable reporters and editors by charging $10.

    BTW, the Sun-Sentinel charges a similar ridiculously low discount rate.

    My suggestion to any Herald or Sun-Sentinel subscriber: Cancel your subscription. Within weeks, if not days, the Sun-Sentinel and/or the Herald will be calling to offer the paper for almost nothing. It has happened to several folks I know.

  4. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Dear Mr. Nevins and those who like if not love print, newspapers and books and magazines like I do!

    The business world was changed in many ways by the time of the 1990 Strike that Mr. Nevins mentions. Two major factors people forget is that Department Stores, the mainstay of advertising were going out of business for nearly 30 years before the sale of The New York Post, the sale of The Daily News, which meant that both middle class commuters and residents of cities were no longer the “target” of locally owned Department Stores like Bamberger’s in Newark, DePinna’s or Stern Brothers or Saks 34th Street, or Gimbels in New York City or others in DC, Philadelphia, even in Miami, Tampa, St. Petersburg, all over the nation.
    Now for those with long memories, the “consolidation” of Department Stores, like the Savings and Loan collapse, the dot com bubble, the real estate collapse, all were caused by speculation, much of it out and out fraud, but the results in all these cases were less and less retail outets or smaller or local businesses taking paid ads.
    Now in Europe and other places newspaper “losses” as in the past in the US, were “offset” by profits in radio and television stations, by “conference planning and hosting”, by non-journalistic endeavours that made money and in many cases offered employment for reporters’ time.
    Now I was in New York City, working, frankly for a billionaire developer who likes to put his name on his buildings, and the Tribune Cos, like The New York Times, like the New York Post, like nearly every newspaper in the US, was looking to “unload” at a profit its real estate in city centers and “spin off” these profits to the stock holders AND NOT INVEST THE MONEY IN THE NEWSPAPER BUSINESS!
    A similar policy in the 1950s and 1960s ruined the railroads, they sold off hugely valuable city center land whose lease incomes could have helped with operating losses on the rails or whose sales could have financed renovations on the rails, instead the money was “spun off” to stockholders, bondholders and officers of the railroads (my first job was with the Penn Central Bankrupcty representing an English bank which held 100 Million in Penn Central Bonds).
    People under 30 can carry on all they want about the “internet has killed print” – ITS CRAP! From a business standpoint, from a financial standpoint, newspaper companies, newspaper holding companies certainly, can be PROFITABLE and even grow IF MANAGED CREATIVELY!!!!
    Let me give examples – what if the Miami Herald had FOLLOWED BY ADVICE 20 YEARS AGO and started a Latin American Wire Service and Conference Division?? ART BASEL/MIAMI BEACH – how much does that make in profits???? That could have been Miami Herald profits.
    Look at the newspaper groups OUTSIDE OF THE US and ENGLAND – yes they have NON NEWSPAPER HOLDINGS, but they are PROFITABLE!
    I suppose Mr. Ha Ha, and Mr. Sham, and whoever is going to carry on about the fact I am saying newspapers or print can only be profitable with non-newspaper assets. SO WHAT! Is the word CONGLOMERATE Obscene?
    Then there is another factor. Many magazines are profitable in Europe because they are UP MARKET! Magazines get a “NICHE”, a specialized sector.
    Now I am going to say something that is going to INVITE ABUSE FROM THE USUAL SUSPECTS! I think the Sun Sentinental can be successful as a newspaper if it.

    I. REALLY Cover Local Government and County Government with attention to local services and development! The articles about issues in the Sun Sentinental are 20% or 40$ less detailed then corresponding articles in the South Florida Business Journal – which is EXPANDING ITS STAFF IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY as opposed to the Sun-Sentinel eliminating Miami-Dade coverage.

    2. Go after “related” business! Start a Cruise Ship Events Division, a Convention Conference Business, WHY CANT FT LAUDERDALE HAVE AN ART BASEL -like ART SHOW – what about an African “affiliate” of ART BASEL/MIAMI BEACH??? The Sun Sentinel could generate ads and consulting fees if it organized an ART BASEL/MIAMI BEACH “satellite show”.

    3. Why not columns by experienced reporters in the communities? Get a little “excitement” in Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Hallandale Beach, Plantation local events. The Democrats keep having meetings in Plantation, but nothing substantial appears in the newspaper. What about the Tea Party on the other end of the political landscape. What are they doing? Of course Tea Party members probably do not read the paper, it never covers them!

    I am sorry, GREED BY BOSSES and STOCKHOLDERS killed and are killing newspapers plus BAD FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT. Don’t blame the internet or the culture. The owners who inherited the newspapers of America, like the Department Stores heirs and Railroad heirs, like overpriced condos on Miami Beach and luxury shopping in Europe to long term investment in a business.

  5. frankie jones says:

    Newspapers are as much a thing of the past as the telegraph.

  6. Capt Obvious says:

    An entry about the dying newspaper industry. Let me guess, the next article is about how water is wet, but first let’s have a commercial break for hotels.com.

  7. Stung By A "Consultant" says:

    Candidates spend so much time and worry so much about newspaper endorsements. They don’t matter It is wasted time. The Pew Foundation found that more pople get news from Facebook and Twitter than newspapers and TV.
    Candidates should spend money targeting voters on Facebook and Twitter. Consultants never recommend that because they rake off thousands from printing mailers, which end up in the garbage.

  8. Help Us Howard says:

    Howard Greenberg is the worse thing that ever happened to the Sun-Sentinel. You’ve got it right, Buddy. He is all about the bottom line and his BFFs at the Fort Lauderdale Chamber and Fort Lauderdale Alliance. Nothing gets in the paper thgat criticizes the business status quo or upsets his BFFs. One call from Huizinga or Rick Case can kill any story.

  9. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    1. Newspaper endorsements are needed for credibility in fundraising.
    2. Newspaper readers are more likely prime voters than twitter or Facebook users, and many times more likely to make local political contributions let alone volunteer.
    3. My experience for 20 years with cultural groups is that newspapers get out the word but electronic internet ads go nowhere.
    But again I won local minor elections without crooked consulrants


    It is true that newspaper readers are more likely to be likely voters than all Facebook and Twitter readers. That is because newspaper readers skew old, old and old. Seniors are more likely voters than younger folks. Facebook and Twitter aren’t there yet, but they can be targeted by interests and participation in politics. They, or something new that comes along, will eventually replace most newspapers.

  10. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Newspapers are alive and well… we just have a new name for them: blogs. Example: TamaracTalk.com – it has ads, it has local news, it has restaurant reviews, it has letters to the editor… it does everything a local newspaper does, except for two things: killing trees & charging for subscriptions.


    Exactly! The paper largely closed its West Broward office housing reporters and editors years ago. They attempt cover the area with two reporters from downtown Fort Lauderdale. When is the last time the Sun-Sentinel had a meaningful Tamarac story, other than a news release from the sheriff’s department.

  11. A reader says:

    I cancelled home delivery of the Sun Sentinel a few years ago. I love reading a print version of a newspaper but the delivery system hit the skids.
    The paper was often delivered late or not at all beginning about 10 years ago.
    When I called to suspend delivery, the paper was thrown on my lawn daily. Customer service was absolutely no help. It was almost impossible to track down a real person to talk with. I even visited the downtown Fort Lauderdale building of the SS and had to talk to a person in Deerfield over the phone to express my concerns about the delivery of the paper. When my efforts failed, I cancelled delivery.
    Now I read the online version of the SS. The website is not user friendly. It is difficult to navigate through all of the sections to find a column. If one wants to make comments, the link to do so often does not respond.
    There is rarely any news or information in the SS that pertains to the “average” person in Broward County. The lead story in the online version is often about the crime of the day with an accompanying picture of the perpetrator. Yes, crime is rampant in South Florida, but a lot of issues pertinent to all residents could be discussed.
    The death of newspapers is indeed sad, but I think the business has killed itself.


    That is interesting. Advertisers should note that the paid advertising they buy is not really paid. My son also gets the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel every Sunday thrown on his lawn for free. He never ordered it. He never paid for it. This has gone on for seven months.

  12. Thurm says:

    The new-loo Miami Herald looks childish… and looks like the boringly dull USA Today fishwrap.

  13. Floridan says:

    Following up on the Count’s 12:28 comment, the fact is that many newspapers are profitable — but the rate of return is not enough for stockholders (primarily institutional stockholders) whose sole interest is in the short-term profit.


    Profitable, but clearly trending downward. I would also argue that they are only profitable because they cut their staffs, their coverage and their size. Read this from the Pew Research Center in April:

    “Ad revenue continued to fall, with gains in digital ad revenue failing to make up for falls in print ad revenue. Despite widespread talk of a shift to digital, most newspaper readership continues to be in print. Online, more traffic to the top newspaper websites and associated apps comes from mobile than from desktop users, and the average visitor only stays on the site for three minutes per visit. And several larger media conglomerates spun off their newspaper divisions as separate companies in an attempt to prevent the newspaper industry’s woes from affecting the health of their broadcast divisions….”

    Not a pretty picture.

  14. Ana Gomez-Mallada says:

    CBB wasn’t trying to CONTROL the slugfest, they were doing their best to fuel it.

  15. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:


    I wrote as a reporter for one daily newspaper of special interest and was a columnist for a monthly history and current events magazine before retiring to Florida. Here in Florida I and another person owned/published a bi-weekly for six months before I moved to New York City in 2001 to help out on two Democratic candidates in primaries.

    The interesting thing I experienced as co-proprietor of a bi-weekly was people would not ask us to print this or that, but after learning what we were publishing, information on “inside deals” in Miami Beach City Hall, we received financial contributions from major property owners and even developers who did business with City Hall because the Miami Herald, Miami New Times, Miami Daily Business Review, and Sunpost would not “put out there” information that was publicly available about “inside deals”. I mention this when the SUN SENTINTEL policy of NOT MENTIONING NEGATIVE THINGS ABOUT REAL ESTATE DEALS. Mr. Nevins alerted us to the sleazy proposed “land swap” of the Fire House! The South Florida Business Journal like Mr. Nevis reported the objections by the Fire and Rescue Squad, BUT THE SUN SENTINEL DID NOT LET THE FORT LAUDERDALE CITY HALL WRITE IT UP, BUT A TOURIST REPORTER who actually GOT NASTY WITH ME AND HUNG UP WHEN I ASKED WHY SHE DID NOT MENTION WHAT BOTH Mr. Nevins and Mr. Bandell did – THE FIRE and RESCUE SQUAD objections! Maybe Mr. Greenberg – THE STRIKE BREAKING, UNION HATING, “el chefe” at ths SUN SENTINEL is as bad a businessman as he is a leader of ETHICAL JOURNALISM and people. LIKE ME, do NOT subscribe!