Creative Loafing Tampa publisher assures community it will endure
The publisher of Creative Loafing's Tampa edition has released a memo assuring the community that there won't be major staff changes at the newspaper as a result of New York hedge fun Atalaya Capital Management taking ownership of the company this week.
As I noted Tuesday, the paper will be losing its most visible remaining columnist, Wayne Garcia, who is departing to take a teaching job at the University of Florida.
Still, the new management team drafted by Atalaya has been trying hard to assure the media world they're not looking to dump the six-newspaper chain, insisting their goal is to profit by improving the company enough to sell it at a premium.
So far, staffers and fans can only keep close watch and hope the new owner's deeds match their words.
Here's the memo, from publisher Sharry Smith:
.Members of the Tampa Bay community:
I write this today to share with you some exciting information about the future of Creative Loafing, and to express my hope that we can share that future with you.
As of August 25, 2009, with the purchase of the Creative Loafing organization by its principal creditor, Atalaya Capital, the company has exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It emerges as a revitalized organization with a strong balance sheet and strong leadership. This is a very positive development for us for many reasons:
All of the valued Creative Loafing employees you have come to know and trust will continue with the organization. You will see no interruption in any of the services we provide for you, and there will be no interruption in our delivery every week of a high-quality, engaging publication.
Atalaya has retained the services of several seasoned newspaper professionals, both journalism and business management experts with strong knowledge of and commitment to alternative newsweeklies. Their responsibility will be to oversee the strategic direction of theorganization and to ensure it has the resources it needs to flourish in this highly disruptive economic environment. Their only objective is to enable this organization to provide maximum value for the communities it serves. Collectively their presence is perhaps the strongest demonstration that Atalaya is committed to Creative Loafing as an integral community resource, and I welcome their support. I would be delighted to provide you more information on their backgrounds and biographies, and they have offered to be available for meetings with community stakeholders should that be of interest to you.
Atalaya is committed to investing additional resources judiciously to enable Creative Loafing to grow. They are not intending to liquidate the organization, and they are not intending to sell it immediately; rather, they are committed to helping us serve you in whatever ways we can, including ways in which we may not have been able to until now.
I’m confident and excited that this transition marks the beginning of an era in which Creative Loafing will be able to become an indispensable resource, through great journalism, enabling connections between local
businesses and their best customers, and connecting our citizens to each other and to their city. I invite you to join us as we help create a better Tampa Bay.
Publisher, Creative Loafing Tampa