Because Miami is an independent front page for locals containing news, opinion, and irreverent analysis brought to you by Billy Corben, The Plantain, and a board of journalists and editors that represent a cross-section of Miami beyond the lobbyist class and politically connected elite who are most often heard. We’re doing this to save Miami.

Sign up now and we’ll let you know about our official launch and how you can help save Miami from itself. You don’t need to know the DJ to get on this list.

Why? Because Miami

The Miami of today is the America of tomorrow. If you want to know what challenges our nation will face — and what calamities will befall us — in the years to come, you need only look to South Florida. We set trends and elect presidents, for better or (mostly) worse. We are America’s canary in the coal mine. We are, as T.D. Allman called us, “The City of the Future.”

We are a 21st century city with 21st century problems, but we have 20th century leaders. That’s why our waters are filled with s̶h̶i̶t̶ dead fish and our roads with soul crushing traffic. It’s why the skyline is filled with empty condos no one can afford that overlook streets of shuttered businesses. Climate change has placed the survival of our community in peril but cronyism and corruption at every level of Miami government has made addressing these existential issues impossible. The same handful of political dynasties that broke this town have profited so handsomely from the dysfunction, corruption and nonstop construction they have no incentive to fix any of it.

There’s a common misconception that Miami is a melting pot. No way bro. We’re far more akin to a TV dinner where sometimes the peas fall into the mashed potatoes. We self-segregate. Create our own fiefdoms. That’s why there’s 34 municipalities in Miami-Dade, nearly that many mayors and police departments. Best laid plans to incorporate localized governments that would be more accountable to the people have instead spawned 34 new opportunities for them to steal from us and diffused responsibility while accelerating gentrification and Third World income inequality. It’s like Game of Thrones in paradise with iguanas instead of dragons.

Miami matters. We are a community of consequence and there are dire (international) consequences for not repairing it. We want to be part of the solution. Because Miami.

First Things First: Fix the Miami Herald

We get it; all our institutions are crumbling. But in order to save any of them, we must first save the one that can help us save the others.

If Miami and democracy have any hope of survival, we need local journalism and a thriving paper of record that is beyond reproach. And no that can’t just be the Plantain.

The whole concept of Because Miami was born years ago after the Miami Herald endorsed a candidate who claimed she had been abducted by aliens. Seriously.

So we intended to launch this site next month. But over the course of the last few weeks the Herald has committed so many egregious, racist, and anti-democratic acts we decided that this soft launch was necessary.

What’s Broken at the Herald?

We love the Miami Herald. Parts of it anyway. The Herald’s newsroom, despite the constant and very real threat of downsizing, remains top-notch. But it’s currently a Lambo fire. But the Herald’s management has repeatedly betrayed the public trust and their incompetent “editorial board” does not represent the community and has abdicated its role as the institutional memory in a transient town that desperately needs it. We use quotes when referring to the “editorial board” since the entire board consists of exactly two people. So it’s basically not a board at all.

If the Miami Herald is going to credibly demand accountability and transparency from our government, we must demand accountability and transparency from the Miami Herald.

Some examples from only the last month:

  • The “Editorial Board” endorsed incumbent State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle — who has never prosecuted a law enforcement officer for an on-duty killing in her entire 27 years in office, including the prison guards who locked a mentally ill man in a shower for two hours, rigged the water to 160 degrees and boiled him to death until his flesh fell off the bone — in an editorial riddled with material factual inaccuracies that took them 36 hours to acknowledge and correct.
  • Herald columnist Armando Salguero was widely criticized for blatantly racist comments including defending the 3/5 Clause of the United States Constitution. Their response was such an epic fail, they had to apologize for their (non-)apology, but still defended his racism under the guise of free speech. This caused outrage throughout the community, including on a podcast run by a Herald staff member which the Miami Herald’s editors censored to shield themselves from criticism. So much for free speech, bro.
  • And just this past weekend we discovered that the Herald’s Spanish sister paper, El Nuevo Herald, has been paid to publish a 40-page insert every Friday for almost a year that contains some of the most vile anti-black and anti-Semitic statements and conspiracy theories we’ve ever seen. They apologized for getting caught in a tweet that began with the heartfelt phrase, “We had a contractual relationship.”

How Do We Fix It?

The Herald Needs To Immediately Disband It’s Editorial Board and Change Leadership

The Herald’s editorial board and publisher are getting in the way of the great reporters covering Miami and ruining the reputation of a once great paper. As a community we need them to immediately:

  • Disband its two-person editorial board and not make any more political recommendations under the Herald’s masthead until they install a new larger board that better represents the community they serve.
  • Take immediate action against their advertisers and columnist for racist and anti-Semitic statements and “advertorials” that have regularly appeared in the paper.
  • Out of respect for their hard-working journalists and the indispensable service the newsroom provides, the Herald must hire editorial and publishing leads who will be better stewards of the paper’s legacy than those currently in charge and generate a public report outlining their failures and how the Herald plans to prevent them from occurring in the future.

These steps will go a long way toward restoring the public’s shaken faith in this vital institution. Irregardless (Because Miami), even if some or all of these requests are met, we believe that in 2020, endorsements, opinions, and editorials traditionally published in a newspaper’s “opinion page” should be independent. The conflicts of interest at play are systemic and far too numerous and the damage these conflicts cause to the paper’s newsgathering professionals requires separation.

...And That’s Where We Come In

We offer Because Miami as your independent editorial source.

Because Miami will gather a board of diverse people and minds from throughout the community to provide editorial and opinion coverage of all things Miami. We will also aggregate all the relevant Miami news of the day from a wide variety of local and international sources in one easy destination that isn’t full of pop-up ads and sponsored content.

Who Are We and How Can You Help?

Because Miami started as a discussion between Billy Corben and the kids behind The Plantain. We also think it’s ridiculous that the director of Screwball and the authors of “Little Havana Chicken Fears Gentrification” need to act as ombudsmen for Miami, but that’s where we are. Because Miami.

But if this is going to work we’re going to need your help. We are in the process of putting together a board that represents and can speak for our diverse community and looking to collaborate with locals that have an opinion or viewpoint about Miami that needs to be heard. More information on how to join our team and participate in this experiment to create an independent editorial space for Miami will be forthcoming.

We’re Officially Launching Soon!

We’re planning to officially launch in October, but we’re on MST (Miami Standard Time), so please sign up for our mailing list and follow us on Twitter so we can let you know when we get things up and running.

Billy and The Plantains

(c) Because Miami, Built by @acidtib_