Why We Need Daily Newspapers


I left the South Florida Sun-Sentinel almost two years ago vowing never to look back.

I can’t live my life looking in the rear view mirror.

I got a buyout.  I took my cash.  I went on with my life.

This website is a hobby.  It’s about as far from a daily newspaper as an investment club is from Warren Buffet.

I never meant to use this website to comment on newspapers.  I still have a lot of friends in newsrooms. They have enough problems without me. 

Then a friend reminded me of an anniversary.  It’s an event I covered twenty years ago this week. 

Twenty years ago, The Miami News died.

The Miami News was Miami’s afternoon newspaper.  It had fine columnists like John Keasler and plenty of spunky, combative attitude.

In 1988, the Cox newspaper chain put the News up for sale.  When no buyer was found, the paper closed on Dec. 31, 1988.

Instantly there were fewer eyes watching over Dade County’s always scandal-stained government.  There were fewer eyes peaking over the politicians’ shoulders.

There were fewer safeguards for Dade taxpayers.

What happened in Dade County 20 years ago is already happening across South Florida. 

A lack of information about our governments is metastasizing.  It is spread by cutbacks at the beleaguered newspapers.

It could get worse.  We could lose the patient.  

South Florida is threatened with the loss of its daily watchdogs—the newspapers.

The Tribune Company, which owns the Sun-Sentinel, is bankrupt.

The Palm Beach Post and The Miami Herald are for sale. Until now, no buyers.  Shades of the Miami News?

The three papers, buffeted by a sinking economy and the flight of readers to the Internet, have cut staff and coverage to save money.

The result is the sordid little secret of newsrooms — vast portions of South Florida government now go uncovered by any media.

The only ones happy about this are politicians and lobbyists doing dirty deals.

Or lazy bureaucrats hiding their mistakes.

Or anyone else who wastes the taxpayers money. 

Sure, there is television.  Most of the television news is filled with car crashes and crime.  Very little government news.

Sure, there are alternative publications like the weekly New Times.  They break big stories, but they are too small to be everywhere.

Sure, Internet bloggers have developed wonderful websites focusing on local news and communities.
Sadly, too much on the Internet is unreadable.  Just because you can blog, doesn’t make you a writer.

What does the future hold?

Maybe the local papers printing only Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  

Maybe local papers merging.  Just how much space do you think North Lauderdale or Davie news will get in a Sun-Sentinel-Miami Herald hybrid?

I hope that years from now, someone else isn’t writing that 2009 is the year that daily newspaper journalism died in South Florida.

Because without daily newspapers, who will be pulling up the rocks at city hall to see what crawls out?


7 Responses to “Why We Need Daily Newspapers”

  1. Sam Fields says:

    If the employeees and our community really believe in a daily newspaper they should set up an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)and keep it alive and locally owned.

  2. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Buddy I really loved you column and was eager to read what dirt you had dug up. I am retired from from Broward Schools and loved it when the dirty scaldals were revealed. Oh could I write a book but that stuff for now is in the past and nobody cares. I still get the newspaper in paper form but only on the weekends, the only time I have to read and trying to save the trees. Keep up the great work!!!! I love it.

  3. William Randolph Hearst says:

    The papers are so watered down and devoid of content now that there is little to read. From this readers standpoint, they have only themselves to blame for their failures. By removing so much, they have given us a reason not to buy them.

  4. Oops!!! says:

    This is why you are sadly missed Buddy, you always knew the dirt could be dug up some where and who was behind it… Especially the Lobbyists…
    We all miss you and wish you were back w/the Sun-Sentinel.
    You always did a “GREAT” job!!!
    The Sun-Sentinel is NOT THE SAME WITHOUT YOU!!! Just know that… from me!!!

  5. Marty Rubinstein says:

    Time and technology changes everything in the long run. The internet will put all but the largest newspapers out of business if they don’t adapt.

    30 years ago there were predictions of computers putting newspapers out of business and it’s happening now.

    Ten years ago there were efforts to follow on that prediction by organizations offering customized news delivered to your printer. Okay, so today it’s the e-mail box.

    Perhaps organizations like the Sun Sentinel need to offer complete customized electronic newspapers (for want of a better term) delivered to the customer’s in box for printing at his or her convenience. It’s still easier to read from the printed page than from the screen.

    Like IBM in 1949 and Xerox in 1971, if the publishers don’t abandon corporate thinking, they’ll be left in the dust as the trend is showing.

    IBM 1949? They passed up on what was to become the office copier leading to the formation of Xerox.

    Xerox 1971? Xerox passed up on their own invention from the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). After all, who needed a computer on their desktop?

    It also explains why Chevy can’t deliver anything better than the Volt which will fail miserably when the Tesla hits the market.

    In any case, the only method for survival of the publishers is to rethink the process from the ground up. And they’ll need new blood to do it.

  6. John Garon says:

    As a scientist, it does me well to see the future as foretold by George Orwell and Huxley. Finally, with the termination of the printed word we can begin to repopulate the planet with trees.

    Secondly, we must stop trying to inseminate a world with democracy. We learned nothing from what happened in 1929, and brought the depression back with a different cover on the book.

    We are caught in the greatest conundrum humanity has ever encountered, “overpopulation”, and unless we thin out approximately 4 billion people real soon the ball game will be over!

    Our government has failed, because our people have failed. Our food supply for the masses has failed, because we try to replace farming with the movement of gold to purchase chemicals from China. All our federal agencies have become dysfunctional.

    Above all, we have successfully stifled the Free Press. Why? Nothing is free!

    As for all of you journalists that fell in love with and married the newspaper medium, along with exemplary writing abilities to deliver the truth, it’s time to say goodbye!


    War is peace
    Love is hate
    Double-think Double-speak
    And above all, Long-Lived Big Brother

  7. Update: Why We Need Daily Newspapers Report on Channel 6 Tonight : BrowardBeat.com says:

    […] idea for the Channel 6 story was generated by a December 28 blog entry on Browardbeat.com, Bogert said. […]