Herald to Online Users: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Paper taking donations for Web content

This holiday season, you have several options of where to donate your money: Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, soup kitchens.

But have you considered the Miami Herald?

It's not quite a charity case yet, but the paper of record in the Magic City is accepting handouts if you have any spare change.

Starting today, users of the Herald's Web edition can make donations to the paper on each story.

A link at the bottom of each story directs users to "Support ongoing news coverage on Miamiherald.com."

Through the link, you can pay any amount you'd like with a credit card (Visa, MasterCard and American Express accepted, sorry DiscoverCard holders).

The suggested donation is going toward a good cause.

"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 donation page reads.

With cutbacks, layoffs and weak revenues, the Herald is looking for money from its online content any way it can get it.

Having already cut 175 jobs earlier this year, the Herald announced it would be cutting 24 more just in time for the holidays.

Paying for online content is nothing new. The New York Times flirted with it, then backed off. And Rupert Murdoch promises to make the content of his online newspapers pay sites.

Just a few months ago, the Herald required online users to register to view stories online, and a straight fee for browsing the Herald's stories online may be around the corner.

"We're trying something new, we're putting it out there to see if it works, to see what the response is," said Elissa Vanaver, Vice President/Assistant to the Publisher at the Herald. She said there are currently no plans to start charging for content.

Until then though, the Herald will keep doing its best PBS impression.

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