The gnashing of teeth here at the Miami Herald is only just beginning. For starters, my department boss has decided to scramble everyone into another job. You do A section? Go to Local B instead. You do B section? Now you are sports. Oh, and if you thought you were doing the Business section…now you do Sports pages at the same time.
What do we do with these pages, you ask. Well, we find out how long the stories are, what size headline to ask the copy desk to write, what boxes, graphics, and pictures we weren’t told about absolutely HAVE TO RUN on the page. We have to know what art has already been in the paper this week, where to find mugs of people featured in roundups. We have to wrap this melange around a group of ads, and remember to check the ad content so we don’t feature a plane crash story on a page of airline ads. In short, we do a million little things to bring the reader a physical paper to hold in his/her hands each day. This is all set to a deadline: God forbid you miss that.
And now, with the implementation of a new schedule, this newspaper does more: my boss has found a way to warp space and time! Yes! A miracle of willpower, with maybe a little physics thrown in.
We now have seven nine hour shifts, but we can’t get paid for overtime. In this manner, he has suavely blended in enough “free” hours to make up one of the full-timers we were forced to lose. Of course, (nod, wink) we nine hour-ers are “supposed” to take an hour lunch break. Who cares about the poor saps still on eight hour days? They can eat after work.
Well, neither I nor anyone I know has had time for a lunch break in the 9 (NINE) years I’ve been up here. Not if we’re going to make pages in time for deadline.
I don’t give a damn, you say. I don’t want to pay for a paper that’s outdated when I can get my news online, you whinge. Yes, I said whinge. Of course you don’t ninny. Not now, when you have a choice. But what happens when there isn’t a choice?
Are you going to slog through a web page that has 80 inches of words in it? Each day for a week, like our series on housing corruption, or the juvenile justice system? Will you care about the story that lies behind the description of what occurrred?
Acually, you will never care about issues you don’t get exposed to. How could you? It takes time and money to follow these stories to completion. How will online news, with its short, double-spaced graphs and sound/video bites get your attention for that long on one story?
The Miami Herald, like all good newspapers, takes the time to dig deeper. We present it to you with bells and whistles to make sure you not only read the articles, you find it impossible not to understand them. But it costs too much, you whine. And I because I’m supposed to recycle, I can’t throw it away when I’ve read it.
Say amen and bow your head. The Second Coming can’t be far away.