Steve Rothaus, the LGBT issues reporter for the Miami Herald, will leave the newspaper after its parent company offered a buyout to 450 employees.
About 225 employees took the buyout including Rothaus. He’s been with the company for 33 years. His last day is Thursday.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “I am wrapping up 33 years at the Miami Herald. Twenty-one years of which I carved out a beat that no one else had ever done.”
Rothaus said he has no regrets. And he’s not bitter.
“I pioneered something and I stuck with it all of these years. I am very satisfied,” he said. “I’ve had a wonderful time doing what I do.”
The Miami New Times reported some other big names took the buyout as well including sports writer Clark Spencer, who has covered horse racing and the Miami Marlins; staff writer (and author) Glenn Garvin; Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Patrick Farrell; and longtime Cuba expert Mimi Whitefield.
But just because Rothaus is leaving the Herald doesn’t mean he’s leaving journalism.
He plans on staying a part of the community and may dabble in freelance.
“I’ve been showing up at things. I have more time than before,” he said. “Now I’ll have more time to write about the things that are important to me.”
As for the LGBT beat at the Herald he doesn’t see anyone stepping into his shoes – at least not any time soon.
“The era of niche is reporting done. Those kinds of jobs no longer exist,” he said.
In fact for the past several years editing became a larger part of Rothaus’ job. He was the editor of the neighbors section, Tropical Life and the weekend section.
“The essential part of my job is the editing so that will need to be filled first,” he said. As for the LGBT beat he added, “I don’t think they will be in a position to add employees to do what I did. If they did hire somebody that would be great.”
He went on to note that the newsroom is barely staying afloat covering police and schools.
“We don’t cover small cities the way we used to,” he said.
While Rothaus is content with leaving the Herald, and spending more time with his husband Ric, the state of the media industry saddens him.
“We’re all sad that the world we once knew no longer exists,” he said. “Personally I think we were better off as a society when we were able to cover communities on a very personal level, — covering the basics on a hyper local level. We were the watchdog. And that’s the sad [part] and it frightens me. It’s no longer possible because there is no financial model for it.”