Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Miami Herald business strategy; price gouging subscribers ... by Ruth Trencher, Guest Blogger

June 8, 2015
Dear Executives at the Miami Herald:

Re: more charges for an already diminished newspaper

The Miami Herald has, in tiny print on page 2B, a statement as follows: “All Subscribers will be charged an additional $1.50 for seven dates; the 2/18, 3/18, 4.22, 5/25, 6/17, 8/28, and 10j/14 Premium Editions and $2.00 on Thanksgiving Day (11/26). These charges are not included in subscription rates and will change your expiration date.”

No mention is made of what these Premium Editions contain that make them worth the additional cost. The charges for the Thanksgiving paper are clearly for the advertisement supplements and the others may well be for the same. I do not want and do not read the advertisements, I get the paper for its news content!

On speaking to your representative, (name reserved) she told me that there are nineteen Premium Editions each year, of which you charge only for eight. She told me that these have special sections, inserts, provide information about these special days and include coupons and other materials of value to customers. On further questioning, in particular addressing the most recent Premium Edition, 5/25, she acknowledged that there was no special section devoted to this occasion, but articles in the paper relating to the day. She also said I had received this notice in my most recent Miami Herald bill (see attached).

I pay for my newspaper by the year, pre-paying for service for 365 days, a full calendar year! This additional charge of $12.50 for eight Special Editions (comprised of articles for the occasion and extra advertisements and coupons) would diminish the value of the contracted rate which I have prepaid.

Attached is my last bill from the Miami Herald which has a confusing notice at the bottom. The first sentence, although it has no final punctuation, appears to end with “31” on the second line. The next portion appears to authorize a charge of $1.75 for the Thanksgiving paper, and $1.25 for three additional dates. You will note that it does not state that my yearly subscription will be abbreviated to achieve this end, and so one expects that the bill includes these additional charges!

And now the daily paper includes seven Premium Edition $1.50 charges and a $2.00 Thanksgiving fee (which I suppose is for the turkey article and the three pounds of advertisements). Home Depot, Macy’s and other stores pay you a substantial fee to put advertisements in your newspaper or include as inserts. And now, you expect us to pay again for the “privilege” of lugging this into our homes and disposing of it! What’s next; charging us by the article for information in the paper? An ink surcharge?

I have been a subscriber to the Miami Herald for more than fifty years! I have watched the paper shrink to a shadow of its former glory! If the Miami Herald wants to remain a viable institution, its subscribers should be respected and served, not have their contracts which are prepayments for a stated service, and their general good will towards a venerable Miami institution voided by a seemingly unending host of outrageous charges!

Please address these outrageous charges.
Thank you,
Ruth Trencher


Anonymous said...

I cancelled my subscription to the Miami Herald several months ago after having been a subscriber for thirty-five years. The Herald phone representative asked was there anything that they could do to change my mind. I said issue a paper that was worth the price.

Anonymous said...

Ouch. A few hold outs at the Herald, like Edna Buchanan who wrote on Facebook a few years ago: "I share the concerns about polar bears, penguins, baby seals and all other creatures aboard this shrinking and increasingly sweaty planet. However, [a rally by] environmental activists at South Beach on Thursday, October 18, was contrived, disingenuous and no credit to their cause. They posed for photos, barefoot in ankle deep water, as one cried: "Nowhere else is the reality of climate change more visible than right here, right now ..." The Miami Herald bought it hook line and sinker with a story and four-column color photo splashed across today's local section, under the heading: "With Miami Beach streets flooded by sea water as a backdrop, environmentalists called on presidential campaigns to deal with the touchy topic of global warming."

That kind of conviction cost the Miami Herald its audience, back in the days of David (I see nothing!@) Lawrence and Alvah Chapman (we know what's best for you!@). Oh well ...

Anonymous said...

Uh, that climate change story was real, the flooding was due to sea level rise and today Miami Beach is committed to spending upwards of $300 million for new pumps and is considering raising the roads and entire island if it has to I order not to go under. Edna Buchanan is a great crime reporter, novelist. But not a scientist, she should however believe the scientists when they say climate change sea level rise is real, it's here and will get substantially worse in our lifetime.
The Herald was in fact late to the reporting on climate change, when the world had been reporting on climate change and pointing to Miami as ground zero, the Herald ignored it. That was a real crime.

Anonymous said...

Ruth, you have provided an answer to a mystery that had been vexing me -- why my Miami Herald renewal date has come earlier and earlier each year. At renewal, I wrangled some make-up time to compensate for the "short" years. However, it's sad to see the Herald resort to deception as a business strategy to stay afloat.

sundayniagara said...

Once a great newspaper and now, useless as **** on a boar hog. I happily pay monthly for an online subscription to the NY Times, "a real newspaper."

Geniusofdespair said...

I have a love-hate relationship with the Miami Herald I would not cancel my subscription ever. You are shortchanging the reporters, we need them. I think some of you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. Mediocre is better than nothing.

Anonymous said...

As a long time subscriber it is becoming more and more difficult to convince myself that it is worth it. My paper is often late and more often missing. I call so often I put their number in my contact list. On top of that the local information is often wrong, especially about things happening in the local municipalities. That said, I agree with Genius. We need this paper, or at least the investigative reporters.

Anonymous said...

What you really need is a competing paper that actually cares about journalism.

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Anonymous said...

On the positive side, they do have a gay blog and a full-time gay blogger who publishes gay news 24/7. Did you think that nonstop gay news is free? I hope you are not protesting the fees because you are homophobic.

Anonymous said...

The liars, crooks and lobbyists scheme and steal largely because the Herald cannot field enough (any) investigative journalists.

Miami Herald said...

Ms. Trencher,

Thank you for being a loyal subscriber. I am glad that we were able to solve your concern when we spoke on the phone. Per our conversation, we're making modifications to avoid further confusion.

Armando Boniche
Miami Herald

Note: If you're reading this as a Herald subscriber and need assistance with your account, please contact us at

Anonymous said...

If you really want the Herald to recapture their glory days of excellence in journalism, ask Pat Frost to buy 'em.

In lieu of that, stop giving them your hard earned pension and let the Herald die.