After 20 years in South Florida, I finally subscribed to the Miami Herald. I read it all the time. The Herald is my go-to source for scoop on the good, the bad and the ugly of Miami-Dade County. It’s where I keep a pulse on local politics and start researching candidates during election season. It’s where I track what’s good to eat around town and catch up on the events I missed when I decide to stay in for the evening. More importantly, it’s where I get to learn from the perspectives of my neighbors on issues that affect our community.
For years I have relied on the Miami Herald as a primary source of local news and at times, as an outlet through which to share information. When I was at the City of Miami Beach, the Herald and I had a love-hate relationship. Its writers and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye on issues pertaining to my work, but I was appreciative of the conversations they ignited surrounding our environment and our city. Moreover, its national prestige ensured these conversations were amplified. I know because when I google myself, I find articles from a wide range of outlets referencing the handful of times I was quoted in the Miami Herald.
I don’t know why it took me so long to subscribe. Perhaps it was the fact that I did not grow up buying the paper. When I lived in Mexico City, a copy of Reforma was always resting on the dark wood credenza in the vestibule of my grandparents’ house. During our Sunday visits, I would pause on my way in or out to flip haphazardly through its pages, never once questioning how the paper got there. When we arrived to South Florida, I was your run-of-the-mill myopic teenager, too wrapped up in surviving school socially and academically to remember there was a world beyond campus. By the time I picked up another newspaper, there was nothing to pick-up, only links to click through while silently praying I wouldn’t hit a paywall.
Today I finally decided to stop x-ing out of that telltale pop-up and support my local paper. I had been mulling over the decision for a few months and all it took was this article by Carlos Frías announcing the newly revamped Red Fish for me to pull the trigger. For years, like many others, I have been syphoning knowledge for free from the pages of the Miami Herald, knowledge that talented journalists bring us at great personal sacrifice, like sitting patiently for 12+ hours listening to a commission meeting each month. It’s about time I uphold my end of the journalistic bargain as a loyal reader: by paying for the work behind the content.
Although my support is long overdue, the Miami Herald needs it more than ever. They were facing financial setbacks before the pandemic and the economic instability continues to threaten its existence. I don’t kid myself that my measly $12.99-a-month subscription is going to save the Miami Herald, but it’s better than $0 and it highlights how much I appreciate the hard work from the newsroom. Next time you read an article from the Miami Herald stop to consider the value it is bringing your life and the work that happened behind the scenes to make it possible. Is it worth more than $0?