Miami Herald asking online readers for contributions

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The Independent Online

The Miami Herald, which has cut 200 jobs this year, began offering readers the option Tuesday of making a contribution to the newspaper online.

"Beginning Tuesday, The Miami Herald will accept voluntary contributions via its website," the newspaper said.

"Support ongoing news coverage on," reads a link featured at the bottom of each Miami Herald story on the Web.

The link takes readers to a page which asks them to "please consider a voluntary payment for the Web news that matters to you."

Readers can contribute to the newspaper using a major credit card.

Faced with a steep decline in print advertising revenue, falling circulation and free news on the Internet, US newspapers have been looking at ways to boost revenue online.

The Wall Street Journal currently charges online readers and News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch has announced plans to erect pay walls around all of his newspaper empire.

Many newspapers have been hesitant about making such a move, however, fearing it would drive readers to free sites and cut into their online advertising revenue.

Earlier this month, the Miami Herald eliminated 24 posts worldwide and reduced some newspaper production working hours in a bid to cut costs.

The Herald, which is owned by US newspaper publisher McClatchy Co., already reduced its workforce by 19 percent in March, dismissing 175 staff.