Slimmed down Tampa Tribune debuts today
After months of rumors, the new, slimmed-down, two-section weekday Tampa Tribune arrived at subscribers' doors this morning, adopting many of the reduction measures other newspapers have implemented in recent weeks and years -- including rival the St. Petersburg Times.
A color marketing insert explains most of the changes, along with a front-page note from executive editor Janet Coats. All the metro news and op-ed stuff has been placed in one section, with local news emphasized on the front page. The second section is a classified ads section much like our BayLink section, featuring some of the most popular standing elements of a traditional features section -- horoscope, puzzles, movie listings and comics -- placed inside with the classifieds.
At the center of this redesign is the main section, which numbered 30 pages this morning. Filled with local news, business news, sports, national news and an op-ed/letters page, this section featured an array of short pieces -- collections of paragraph-long "briefs" and stories that rarely run longer than 10 paragraphs. Few stories also "jump" in a continuation from one page to another, further helping contain the material.
A third Bucs Bonus section appears Mondays -- though given the recent success of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, it's a shame they didn't have the flexibility to use that section for Rays news this week. Tuesdays through Thursdays, sports will also appear inside the main section. Fridays, a separate sports section looks ahead to events over the weekend.
The newspaper's Friday Extra entertainment tabloid remains, along with Wednesday News & Tribune neighborhoods sections and the home-buying section on Fridays.
For writers, it will be a transition from thinking about longer storytelling to brief bursts of information and graphics. For readers, it will mean getting used to a smaller newspaper at the same price -- a transition the St. Petersburg Times also asked of customers not long ago.
Looking at similar redesigns presented everywhere from the Orlando Sentinel to the Chicago Tribune, it's obvious this the wave of the foreseeable future for modern metro newspapers. The one unanswered question: How will readers handle it?