Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald To Merge?

Okay, I know that's a pretty bold headline to have nothing much to back it up, but the Wall Street Journal last week floated the idea that McClatchy was thinking of selling the Miami Herald. Or something like that. I couldn't get the link because I guess you need to be a subscriber, but I was able to cull the gist of it:

"Speaking of distress: McClatchy Co. just halved its dividend. Could it be pondering a more drastic option? There is talk that it could be contemplating the sale of its largest newspaper, the Miami Herald."

"There is talk that it could be contemplating..."? That's some serious hedging. Obviously, WSJ didn't have ANY hard info to back up its speculation, but if it is true, then who might buy it?

Paging Zell, paging Sam Zell.

Don't get me wrong, I hate the idea. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Not only is the Herald still a superior newspaper to the Sentinel, but the loss of competition would also bring the state of South Journalism down a notch or three.

But the two newspapers already share a distribution deal and, in these frightful financial times, you can bet there will be more consolidation in the newspaper business. There has been earlier speculation, specifically from Alan Mutter, regarding a joint operating agreement between the two newspapers. And the Internet content-sharing deal between the two newspapers (along with the Palm Beach Post) has certainly broken some barriers.

Another scenario: That an independent entity buys both the Herald and the Sentinel and combines them. Again, bad idea. But I wonder if it's not inevitable that this place gets at least one fewer newspapers.

-- Also, in case you missed it, here's the latest on the scandal involving lusty emails exchanged between former Miami Herald reporter Tania deLuzuriaga and then-assistant school superintendent Alberto Carvalho, whose ascendance to supe seems to be stalled because of it. Apparently deLuzuriaga is on the hot seat in Boston, as well she should be. Part of me thinks that her journalistic crime demands that she be drummed out of journalism. But I think that might be knee-jerk and too harsh. She's young. And it also should depend on the quality of her work covering the school board while she was getting too close to Carvalho (I admit I haven't read many of her stories). The Miami Herald is doing a review of her work, so it will be interesting to see what it finds. In short, the jury is still out, but I'd be interested in other opinions.

-- And we at New Times are set to welcome a new editor, Eric Alan Barton, who is making his return to South Florida after as managing editor at the Pitch in Kansas City. I've worked alongside Barton, so I know he's a first-rate guy, knows Florida (he worked at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune before joining New Times), and knows how to tell a story (an example). A lot of you probably don't know, however, that we've been operating without a top editor for quite a while. That says something for our staff of reporters, I think. You might say we've proven that editors are unnecessary, but Managing Editor Ed Newton has been a rock for the staff and Miami New Times Editor Chuck Strouse has filled in admirably as interim chief. All right. Enough about us. Welcome, Eric.

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