Real readers still need real news, not flash, fluff and blood
Written by Michael Lewis on May 22, 2018
Miami Today this week concludes 35 eventful years of providing vital news that you seldom, if ever, find elsewhere.
Back in 1983 we competed with three county-wide newspapers with a combined daily circulation of well over 600,000, so finding those unique but impactful reports that made a real difference to thoughtful, well-placed readers was difficult.
Today, with the sole remaining daily newspaper’s print circulation about a tenth of that 600,000 of 35 years ago, the difficulty isn’t finding the important exclusives but prioritizing them to fit into limited space. Our challenge becomes increasing our revenue and our scope in order to grow the news we can bring you.
When we started Miami Today, the healthy news industry still paid heed to the excellent motto of the New York Times, “All The News That’s Fit To Print.” But in most places as revenues decline and staffs are slashed that aim seemingly has been replaced by “Only The News That’s Going To Shock You.” And let me be clear, I don’t mean only news that’s coming out of Washington.
Reporters at the remaining daily newspaper whisper that they aren’t asked to write significant news. The gauge now is whether stories will attain a large digital following, significance be damned. The yardstick for all local media is moving perilously close to the apocryphal television motto, “If It Bleeds, It Leads.”
The modern news industry counts clicks, not impact. Years ago it was only supermarket tabloids creating and inflating, pulling together a few disparate facts that involved the rich and famous and spinning them into creations about The Donald and other tabloid stars. Now the mainstream media are doing the same and peddling it as the news.
Well, if that’s modern journalism then Miami Today is so old-fashioned that we’re cutting edge, continuing to focus on that vital point where government, business and civic affairs intersect and on people who are not flash and dash but who are building one of the world’s great communities. We look for significant articles that will have an impact on Miami’s future.
A year from today, you should be able to look back at this issue of Miami Today and see that our reports set the stage for what was coming down the road.
We’re far more likely to catch people doing the right things for the right reasons than doing wrong – after all, isn’t that what Miami (and every community) is really all about? Do the people depicted in other media really resemble your community’s leaders in business, government and civic affairs, or is your idea of reality in Miami far closer to people and organizations you find featured in Miami Today?
We make no bones about it: we like this community and want it to be the best it can possibly be. And we’re trying to spotlight those who are helping do that. Yes, we know there are cranks and crooks, but other media will tell you all about them in excruciating detail. Our news targets are the other 99% of Miamians.
We don’t find any lack of need for you to know what local government is doing, yet at meeting after meeting only Miami Today will be reporting anything that isn’t particularly controversial but is important to some of our readers.
In fact, in this day and age our reports on transportation and housing gaps, government spending and civic striving and so on are more necessary than ever.
We know that no single Miami Today reader is interested in everything we write and that no single story is of interest to every one of our readers. But we are confident that everything that appears in our news columns is of use to some readers, and that we are the only medium that is going to tell them about it.
To us, that’s real news.
So, What about claims of fake news? We think the fake news is not the news of government, civic affairs and business but the celebrity-oriented fluff and media-created controversies and, yes, the mountain of random crime coverage that is important to the victims but totally meaningless to the rest of a global metropolis. That doesn’t mean it’s not true – it’s just not real news.
As one of Miami’s few locally owned and operated news media, Miami Today is a part of the fabric of its home town. Maybe that’s why it’s one of few media that aren’t cutting back as far as possible. We expect to be here – and be here in print as well as our digital edition and our miamitodaynews.com web site, because we don’t join the others in thinking print is dying. Serious persons read, and we will keep giving them their choice of formats. Those who aren’t serious about information will accept tweets as “All The News That’s Fit To Print,” and they’ll get exactly what they’re paying for it – nothing.
In a news industry otherwise in turmoil, we appreciate your continued support in reading, subscribing, advertising – and in insuring that impartial, serious and informed reporting can continue to make a positive difference in Miami.
Stay with us. Stay informed.