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Trickle-down: The Decisions creates more local Heat coverage

Almost everything about this summer has been nothing but sunshine and rainbows for the Miami Heat fan base. While there's plenty to celebrate, one thing that's probably gone beyond your notice is something which is very exciting to me: newspapers are hiring to cover this team more extensively. Last year, the only real beat reporters covering the Heat were Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Mike Wallace of The Miami Herald and Chris Perkins of SunSports/Fox Sports Florida. The reason Perkins is working for that TV network is that he was laid off from the Palm Beach Post, which, in a cost-cutting measure, decided to not have a beat reporter covering the team at all. Those three guys are quality reporters indeed. But three guys isn't much for a major-market team like the Heat. But with the bonanza about to appear in Miami (and the additional eyes/advertising focusing on newspapers that comes with it), more reporters would logically be needed. And we're seeing that play out now. The first public domino to fall was late last month, when the Post put out a call seeking to recreate the position of Miami Heat beat reporter in a new light. The job listing stated it was not seeking a "traditional 'beat writer' position," but it does seem to have many of the same responsibilities as a beat writer, responsible for "reporting-driven analysis, enterprise and features." We don't know who that person is, but we will soon. Next was a bit of a surprise, but a welcome one. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel shifted one of its writers, Shandel Richardson, to join up with Winderman and tag-team Miami Heat coverage. Steve Gorten will replace Richardson on the University of Miami beat, his previous home. So what does that mean for you? Well, it's more, and better, in-depth coverage of this team you're so hungry to learn more about. It's a commitment by media outlets to give a team which has traditionally held second-class citizen status the top-tier coverage the Miami Dolphins have received for 40 years. In short, it's another sign that the sports landscape in Miami is shifting ever so slightly thanks to this summer's massive event. And it's a sign that newspapers in South Florida aren't on death's door just yet, which is good news for everyone.