Dignity, shmingnity: Herald puts its hand out

McClatchy Newspapers’ Miami Herald has begun soliciting donations at the end of its online articles.

“Support ongoing news coverage on Miamiherald.com,” says an interactive message at the end of articles at the site. The click-through goes to a page with a credit card form and a message that says in part, “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.”

They’ll take Visa, MasterCard or American Express.

“We’re trying something new, we’re putting it out there to see if it works, to see what the response is,” Elissa Vanaver, Herald vice president/assistant to the publisher, told NBC Miami. She said there are currently no plans to start charging for content.

Though McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt said just last week that all of the firm’s newspapers are profitable, the Herald announced the elimination of 24 jobs and a cutback in hours at the beginning of December. This followed elimination of more than 370 jobs in 2008, 175 more in March and 16 more in August, according to one count, a pattern followed at each of McClatchy’s 30 daily newspapers.

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