With the snip of a scissors, the Miami Herald Media Co.’s new Doral headquarters officially opened to the community Wednesday morning, capping a two-year transition from its longtime home on Biscayne Bay.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony drew executives from Herald parent the McClatchy Co., and business leaders from South Florida, who gathered in a tent with many of the Miami Herald Media Co.’s employees.
“Miami remains an important market for McClatchy,” said Kevin S. McClatchy, chairman of the Sacramento-based McClatchy Co. “We have faith in its potential for growth and the many opportunities it offers.”
The move comes at a time when traditional news organizations across the globe, including the Miami Herald, have been struggling to develop new business models that meet shifting needs of both audience and advertisers. As digital channels have gained importance, consumers have come to expect minute-to-minute news, delivered online and through mobile devices.
“We live in a world that has changing media preferences,” said David Landsberg, president and publisher of the Miami Herald Media Co. “These new preferences make for a very good business, as we port our content into the various channels that our readership desires.”
Through all newspaper and digital platforms, the Miami Herald Media Co. reaches 1.5 million readers weekly, capturing 52 percent of the core adult market from South Broward through Monroe County, according to Scarborough Research. The Herald also prints and delivers other publications for clients including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and El Pais.
The new, two-story, 160,000-square-foot headquarters — home to both the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald — is designed with multimedia walls and an open continuous news desk designed for an evolving industry. A separate, 119,000-square-foot printing plant was built on six acres of land purchased next door. The total spaced occupied roughly equals about one-third the size of the Herald’s former bayside headquarters.
“It’s important for the Herald to have a cutting-edge facility where it can produce the journalism of our future,” said Doug Bartel, director of business development, media and external relations for Florida Blue, based in Doral. “And we are excited to have them as neighbors.”
The move comes two years after Malaysia-based Genting Group paid $236 million for the Herald’s former 14-acre property, with plans to build a resort complex with a hotel, condominiums, commercial and retail space. Genting has said it will continue without approval of a casino that was part of its original plan.
The newspaper industry has suffered significant disruption during the past decade, including bankruptcies, ownership changes, layoffs and furloughs. In response, some news organizations have introduced paid online subscriptions, cut back on print delivery and introduced alternative publications.
Meanwhile, daily print newspaper readership has declined nationwide by nearly 20 percent since 2001, Scarborough Research’s figures show. Yet in the past five years, the Herald has seen an 80 percent increase in monthly unique visitors to its four websites, from an average of 4.5 million unique monthly visitors in 2008 to an average of 8.1 million this year, said Alex Fuentes, general manager of Miami Herald Interactive.