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Tampa Tribune Cuts Down Sections; How Will Readers React?



Tribfront2008downsize I've just seen the Tampa Tribune's note today about how the paper will be reconfigured, so I'm not yet sure what to make of it.

It's always delicate territory talking about changes at a competitor, especially when your own organization has implemented its own newsprint-saving changes in the past and may yet create more.

Still, the Tribune's editor's note this morning buries the lede a bit, just as our own communications with readers about slimming the paper emphasized all the new stuff we were doing while de-emphasizing all the old stuff we were not.

What the Tribune is not doing, it seems, is publishing a features section on Mondays and Tuesdays. Daily comics have moved to the front of the classified section, while the features section BayLife becomes a tabloid Wednesday through Saturday. The Tribune's success with advertising in its Saturday health tab 4You hasn't gone unnoticed over here; apparently, they're going to try expanding that success to their features sections.

Their Sunday features section will combine Travel and BayLife in a section called Getaway, TV critic Walt Belcher's column goes four days a week and runs inside the paper's first section (called Nation/World) behind the front page. Its Monday business section will also end, with business news placed inside the Nation/World section. And daily TV listings also go away, available in print only on Sundays in the traditional TV guide booklet.

Newspapers across the country are implementing similar changes, striving to save newsprint, possibly reduce printing costs and shave down staff. I haven't spoken with anyone at the Tribune, so I don't know which, if any, of these issues spurred their changes.

The open question, of source, is how readers will feel about paying the same amount for a newspaper which is going to be smaller and offer less material. The answer to that question, might also answer some worrisome questions about the future of our entire industry.

What do YOU think?

Here's a sample of the letter some of the Tribune's advertising clients are getting:

Dear Client:

You will see changes in our newspaper beginning Monday, March 3.

*Monday – A Monday Business report will publish within Main News.  The Business and Careers section has been discontinued. 

*Monday – BayLife has been eliminated.  The comics will be part of the Classified section. 

*Tuesday – No BayLife, comics will publish in the Classified section

*Wednesday – Flavor has been redesigned as a tab and the comics will publish with Classified.

*Thursday – At Home (formerly a Saturday feature section) will publish as a tab and the comics will be in Classified

*Friday – We are eliminating the Baylife Insider pages from Friday Extra.  Comics will publish with the Classifieds.

*Saturday – 4 You will be our feature section and the comics will publish with Classified.

*Sunday – Baylife and Travel will be combined into one broadsheet section. 

Movie times will be listed as follows:

1.       In The Tampa Tribune and Sunbelt News (Community News sections) within the Tribune on Wednesday and Saturday

2.       In Friday Extra

3.       In Sunday Baylife

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:44pm]


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