Tuesday, July 31

Miami: Versions & Facsimiles -

Burn Notice, a cable TV spy series which has gone into some broadcast syndication, is reported to be facing an uncertain production future in the Miami area because its lease on the Coconut Grove Convention Center is going to expire in October. The recent Miami Herald article about the problem seems less like reportage and more like free publicity.

I made a point of watching the series a few times mostly because it was supposed to be showcasing recognizable landmarks in South Florida. I thought the series pretext seemed a bit weak, but I didn't mind much because I enjoyed the character portrayed by Sharon Gless.

Roy Greenslade at The UK Guardian is reporting that McClatchy, parent company of The Miami Herald, is planning to erect a paywall on the newspaper website. I don't think this move will have a felicitous outcome. I believe it will mark the demise of The Miami Herald as an English-language publication.

Recent years have seen a massive exodus of English-literate residents in the Miami area. Many of those leaving have complained that fluency in Spanish is now required in order to work there. Many Americans have no interest in learning Spanish or in Hispanic culture. Miami today is widely regarded as a foreign city.

Traditionally, The Miami Herald has been oriented toward the tourist industry and its transient visitors. But in recent years there have been fewer American visitors who now tend to detour to the theme parks in the Orlando area in Central Florida.

I don't think transient visitors would have any interest whatsoever in paying for access to a local newspaper.

I expected the direction the newspaper would take would be toward publishing a paper artifact on Fri-Sat-Sun with the rest of the week online.

I believe the paywall is a big mistake and its failure will be used to end the English-language edition altogether.

What else is in the works around here . . .

I've heard rumors that they're working on a giant vacuum tube which will be used to suck visitors directly from the Miami airport to Miami Beach. But that's probably just a fairytale like the rumors about holographic avatars being installed in other airports. Some people have very active imaginations ;-)