Editor’s Note on Miami Herald dropping classical coverage

By Lawrence A. Johnson

As regular South Florida Classical Review readers know, since this website was launched in 2008 we have had a relationship with the Miami Herald wherein nearly all of the newspaper’s classical coverage was provided by SFCR. That collegial syndication arrangement worked well for both sides for the past eight years.

Last year the Herald began cutting back drastically on the number of articles and reviews they picked up from SFCR. At the beginning of this 2016-17 music season I was informed that due to space limitations and lack of freelance money, the Herald has decided to drop its classical music coverage entirely, and would not be carrying classical reviews from SFCR or any other source. Except for a preview about a New World Symphony chamber concert of Pulitzer Prize winners last fall, the Herald hasn’t run any classical articles or reviews for the past four months.

It’s not a surprise that the day has finally come when no newspaper in South Florida is doing even minimal classical music coverage. I had a close-up view of the deteriorating situation as the Herald’s classical music critic, one of the first staff positions that the paper cut in the economic downturn of 2008. I started South Florida Classical Review at that time to fill the looming void; it  just took a few years longer to happen than I thought.

I have no doubt the Miami Herald is being genuine about the lack of space and available freelance money being the primary reasons for x-ing out classical coverage. As media observers know, the Herald is only the latest newspaper to eliminate classical music in the past decade.

But even in these straitened times for print journalism, zeroing out classical music coverage also reflects a paper’s priorities and whether they are serious about maintaining a genuine commitment to the fine arts.

As with many newspapers today, I’ve been told that the Herald’s allocation of freelance resources is now based almost entirely on how many website clicks an article receives. So, by that criteria, the paper believes that they are serving their readers better with more articles about where to get a mojito on Ocean Drive than about a chamber concert in Coral Gables.

While I obviously disagree with their decision, there are no hard feelings on this side and I want to thank the past and present Herald editors I’ve dealt with over the last several years–Kathy Martin, Kendall Hamersly and Margaria Fichtner–for their integrity and professionalism.

Most importantly, I want to emphasize to all of our readers and supportive advertisers that South Florida Classical Review is not going anywhere. As with our other sites in New York, Chicago, Boston, Texas and Washington, as long as we enjoy sufficient advertising support, we will continue our comprehensive, high-quality coverage of the tri-county classical music scene, from Palm Beach to Coral Gables.

A happy, healthy and prosperous 2017 to all!

Posted in News

7 Responses to “Editor’s Note on Miami Herald dropping classical coverage”

  1. Posted Jan 06, 2017 at 9:12 am by E Miranda Lopez

    Very sorry, will miss all those interesting and enlighting music commentaries
    Thank you for your work toward a better culture

  2. Posted Jan 06, 2017 at 9:28 am by Rosa Mary Lerner

    I think it’s a shame not only for the Herald but for us, the public !!!
    The Herald must to review this nonsense…
    Please, review your dispositions!!


    Rosa Mary Lerner

  3. Posted Jan 06, 2017 at 11:58 am by Lawrence A. Johnson

    Just to be clear: Nearly every classical review and article that appeared in the Herald for the past eight years originated here and was posted first on South Florida Classical Review. It won’t be in the paper but all you have to do is come to this website and read it here–for free.

  4. Posted Jan 07, 2017 at 12:25 pm by David Sanders

    I think it’s a disgrace and unforgivable that this newspaper would completely abandon classical music, all in the name of the almighty dollar. As someone who grew up in Miami where there was very little classical music, I had to leave Miami to get a high quality musical education. I went to Northwestern University, and have been in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for going on 43 years. In all that time, even without a lot of classical music, at least the Herald covered what was there. There has to be more in life than just the every day mundane things. Life without art is barely worth living.

  5. Posted Jan 09, 2017 at 3:30 pm by Heather

    Well stated.

    I am in Louisville, Kentucky. We lost our classical music reviewer in 2008, and the single arts writer for our local daily covers everything from Broadway and opera to the gallery hops and Shakespeare in the Park. She has a heavy load and is first to admit reviewing classical music takes a special skill set that she does not posses. Still – we are glad we have at least her.

    It is a shame that the classical arts cannot drive “clicks” and “views” like sports or the latest violence in the streets or where to get a mojito. It is a new reality that we who ARE passionate about the classical arts must overcome. WE need to support sites like this with “clicks” and “views” and SHARES!

    Reference this site when at cocktail parties. Use links from stories here to compliment your thoughts in your emails to friends and family.

    This site is a valuable resource to the public – keep it going! I wish we had its equivalent here.

  6. Posted Jan 20, 2017 at 9:10 am by Mario

    Thank you very much for your insightful reviews and for keeping us in touch with all the performances going on in South Florida. I am not surprised, but rather saddened by the Herald’s ongoing slashing of our community paper. It started 10 years ago and hasn’t stopped since.

  7. Posted Jan 23, 2017 at 6:06 am by Thomas Sleeper

    Thank you for all YOU have done to support great music and in so many ways. We are very fortunate to have you and your work!

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