From ‘get me rewrite’ to ‘read my tweet’

06/16/2013 11:50 AM

06/16/2013 4:59 PM

As I unpacked the last of my moving boxes in our new, modern newsroom, I couldn’t help but think back on my early career at the Miami Herald.

I worked as a night time general assignment reporter on the city desk, which often meant chasing police calls.

At the time, cell phones were in their infancy and we had about half a dozen in the newsroom. When I went out on assignment, my editor would give me one to take on the road. It was almost as big as a toolbox and it was like toting a bag of bricks.

On the scene, I’d scrawl the story on a notepad, then call the newsroom to dictate the story. You had to talk fast before the cell phone died.

Now, thanks to advances in technology, the smart phones our reporters use today are the Swiss army knife of journalism.

Armed with an iPhone, Miami Herald journalists can do everything they need to do in real time — Tweet from a live news event , post a photo to Facebook, shoot a quick video to post online or record an interview to air on WLRN/Miami Herald news radio.

Every now and then, a reporter must resort to writing and filing a story using a cell phone, as Haiti correspondent Jacqueline Charles did — with her trademark inch-long nails — while reporting Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

As we find ourselves at the crossroads of an evolution in modern journalism, the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald are perfectly positioned for today – and the future - in our new headquarters.

We have built a streamlined printing plant because we know that our newspapers are going to be around for years to come. The print editions of the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald combined reach 1.3 million adults in South Florida.

With our own presses, we retain control of deadlines, which allows us to provide readers the most up-to-date information possible in the morning paper. That has been critical during the Heat’s run in the NBA finals.

We also have built a state-of-the-art newsroom designed to deliver news and information with the speed required by today’s news cycle. Our Continuous News Desk, at the center of the Miami Herald and el Nuevo newsrooms, is like an air traffic control tower for news, information, photos and videos. It’s where we disseminate news, whether through social media, through a digital news flash or an in-depth story in the newspaper.

We are reaching millions of new readers and we continue to experiment with new ways as technology changes.

Our websites - MiamiHerald.com, elNuevo.com, Miami.com and MomsMiami.com – reach more than 8 million readers each month. We have 20 news and sports apps for both Android and Apple. Soon, we will have two more apps for Windows 8 mobile phone and desktop. We also have four iPad apps for the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald — and we are on e-readers like Kindle and the Sony Reader.

Both papers — combined with our reporters and photographers — have tens of thousands of followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook. You can watch one of our video shows online or listen to our radio reports on WLRN/Miami Herald News.

And when you have something to say, you can still write a letter to the editor, comment on one of our stories online or join our Public Insight Network, which is part of a national database of readers who share their expertise and opinions.

We are in a new location after 50 years in our bayside home in downtown Miami. Our address has changed. What remains the same is our 110-year tradition of journalism excellence in chronicling this community.

We will continue to cover politics, education, business, the arts and culture, sports and crime — local coverage that the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald are uniquely positioned to provide. Our role has never been more important as readers seek trusted, impartial news and information amid the chaos of uninformed voices.

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