Tampa Tribune owner Media General convenes task force to "think boldly" about newspaper
As the media recession drags on in Florida, Tampa Tribune owner Media General told investors Wednesday that it has convened an internal task force to "think boldly" about newspaper operations in Tampa.
Its third quarter earnings revealed that every market where the Richmond, Va.-based company owns news outlets made a profit except in Tampa, which recorded a $1.7-million loss.
According to Rick Edmunds of the Poynter Institute, Media General's vice president for market operations John Schauss told investors "the economic recovery has not really impacted Tampa," though WFLA is doing well. "On the print side we are looking at how we can improve efficiency and effectiveness...The burn (through cash) will be greatly improved... People there are doing great things but there has to be a change of focus."
Media General, which also owns Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8 and TBO.com, laid off 29 employees at its Florida operations in June, including nine newsroom staffers. Employees there also have been required to take 15 unpaid days off as furlough time during the second half of 2011.
Rival St. Petersburg Times announced Wednesday it has cut staff by 6 percent in the wake of a slumping economy, layoffs implemented as the the entire staff absorbed its second pay cut in two years (this most recent 5 percent reduction is planned until early 2012).
Combined with alternative newspaper Creative Loafing's recent decision to sell its papers in Tampa and Charlotte, N.C., moving its headquarters north to Atlanta, you have a picture of a local media continuing to struggle in the wake of recession.