« Beware of product pushers when assessing advisors | Main | Would you accept products in lieu of your CD interest payout? »

December 17, 2021

Is the Miami Herald really asking for your donations?

If we’ve come to be sure about anything in this world, it’s that nothing is free.

Especially, that is, concerning stuff we actually enjoy. YouTube is generally a pretty cool thing; so – of course – why wouldn’t they try and charge us up the Brent Butt for it?

The same goes for online newspapers these days. They want to charge us, yet while we like their (especially local) coverage, we struggle with the idea of paying to read content we can largely find free elsewhere.

Papers haven’t had the easiest time instituting pay systems for this very reason. The consensus is, if a source doesn’t have the can’t-find-anywhere-else commentary/angle/observations of an outlet like the New Yorker, we’re not going to open our wallets.

But has it really come to this for newspapers already?

According to its local NBC affiliate, the Miami Herald has begun asking for donations at the bottom of each of its online articles.

At the end of most stories, readers can click on a link that’ll bring them to a credit card payment page where contributions to the paper can be made.

“If you value The Miami Herald’s local news reporting and investigations, but prefer the convenience of the Internet, please consider a voluntary payment for the web news that matters to you,” the page reads.

This news isn’t totally shocking; the Herald has been dealing with the same crippling readership/ad revenue declines every other paper has.

Following a weekly print subscription decline of almost 25% this past year, the Herald will soon cut 24 jobs on top of the 175 it lost earlier in 2009.

But the idea to peddle voluntary payments is a bit intriguing. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has long maintained the content of his online newspapers will eventually cost readers, but no outlet – to my knowledge – has yet asked for donations.

Will it work? Maybe. If you recall how Radiohead’s “pay what you want” online album release played out last year, people have a tendency to overcompensate when presented with donation freeom like this.

Even if it doesn’t pay off, though, the initiative surely can’t make things worse.

“I can’t imagine this is going to be a gold mine (for the Herald),” said Geneva Overholser, director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. “But I certainly don’t blame them for trying.”

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...