Serious Focused News Vital To This Newspaper And Miami
By Michael Lewis
Miami Today this week starts its 30th year providing vital knowledge to intent readers overwhelmed by fluff that passes for news.
This institution plans to renew its focus on reports that point the way ahead. If we do not mirror Greater Miami’s best, save you time and profit you, our days are numbered.
We branded ourselves an information company long before the Internet, before cell phones and when a twitter was still a bird call. We resolved to provide what you need, regardless of mode of communication.
We narrowly defined news to serve executive need, the niche that generated our market franchise.
We recognized that much passed off as news was filler: generic, inexpensive to gather, easy to read but vital to no one. To command your time, we vowed to be unique and indispensable.
That means no crimes or sensationalism, no tearjerkers or pseudo-conflict, no photos of the largest watermelon or smallest dog, no turning over rocks to find slimy characters. Those can entertain, but none has meaning beyond today or could set us apart.
We do feature key people and groups, as you’ll read in this Best of Miami issue. But reports of individuals and organizations that make a difference to a community have meat, meaning and impact.
If you need to know those who make Miami tick, if you want to tell associates what makes us special or why they should live or invest here — or if you simply care about our community — you’ll savor this edition.
Sense of place is Miami Today’s hallmark. In a metropolis of millions, few know others well. We try to connect dots constructively to help leaders of diverse sectors link effectively.
Though Miami Today remains a newspaper, we now offer far more.
Our electronic edition is read abroad, because interest in a growing metropolis doesn’t stop at state or national borders. The online archives backgrounding Miami are a valued resource.
At miamitodaynews.com, global readers view Miami Today’s highlights. We have never put all our news there free. Newspapers nationally now are shifting to that model.
We also compile the Book of Leaders, a who’s who. Studying a detailed profile in this resource before a business appointment pays dividends.
Miami Today is known by the company it keeps. Along with Northern Trust Bank we have long sponsored the Brickell Avenue Literary and the Prologue societies, groups of avid readers with deep community roots.
Like most companies built on newspapers, revenue’s twin pillars have been circulation and advertising. While other papers now bank on unrelated products or deals, those remain our bedrock.
Unlike some newspapers, print circulation is growing slowly rather than falling rapidly. And advertising is rising again after a recessionary slide.
Readers have reasons to join us. We know some of these reasons, but not all. That’s why you’ve seen in the paper and the web a brief survey.
We’ll learn even more from a longer anonymous survey detailing what you want more or less of and how we stack up among media. Even if you’ve completed the short form, please tell us more in the long form in the June 7 paper or at www.miamitodaynews.com. We’ll print findings.
Thirty years ago we set out to fill needs. We asked hundreds of people what they wanted.
We also sought role models. The Wall Street Journal was one. Later, in 2002, its publisher Peter R. Kann offered ideas we hew to:
"We expect — you are entitled to expect — a… level of additional seriousness and maturity from our media. That should mean less blurring of lines between journalism and commercialism, between informing and entertaining, between news and opinion, between fact and rumor."
Miami Today follows his policy. I’ve substituted our name in his statement:
"We won’t "dumb down’ Miami Today. This publication isn’t for everybody, and we don’t intend for it to be. Instead, it’s written, edited and published for a broad community of women and men in business and seriously interested in the world of business — and now, also, "the business of life.’… In a world sometimes overwhelmed with trivialities, our readers don’t need any more trivia, and we don’t intend to provide it to them."
Future readers and leaders will thrive on bedrock information, including deep local knowledge, preparing them for what lies ahead. They will advance via reading choices. Learning by tweets will not suffice.
As to the future of newspapers that serve communities well, Warren Buffett, who is not known for frivolous investing, this month purchased 63 newspapers whose strong ties to their communities mirror the way Miami Today is tied to its own.
Mr. Buffett has faith in the future of newspapers. So does Miami Today. So, we suspect, do our 70,000-plus readers.