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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Two more longtime area journalists lose jobs at WFTS-Ch. 28 and Creative Loafing

15

July

Posting will be light the rest of this week -- I'm taking the family to Disney World for my daughter's 5th birthday.

But I couldn't hit the road before noting the departure of two more longtime journalists, both seemingly victims of long tenures and presumably substantial salaries in a deteriorating media environment.

Al_keck_04 St. Pete Times sports media expert Tom Jones reported yesterday that Al Keck, top sports guy at ABC Action News and at CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 before that, would not have his contract renewed. The news seems another blow to the rapidly deteriorating state of local TV sports, where WFLA-Ch.8 has seen its regular on-air staff clipped from three anchors to one and WTSP's top sports anchor quit with no new job arranged.

Keck, who left WTSP in 2001 when his contract wasn't renewed, went to ABC Action News that same year.

On the same day, news surfaced that Eric Snider, longtime editor and music writer at Creative Loafing's Tampa newspaper, had been laid off. Snider, who was once music critic at the St. Petersburg Times, was always a fun companion for me at area concerts when I came to the Times in 1995 as its music critic.

He's a raconteur with a sharp writing talent and a good ear for great music; the conversation got so good at shows, I had to be careful about missing too much of the actual Eric-snider concert.

In a blog post announcing the move, Loafing's Tampa editor David Warner expressed his regret over Snider's layoff while maintaining confidence in the newspaper's future and confirming the already slim staff lost four people this year. A judge has set an Aug. 25 date for auction of the in-bankruptcy newspaper chain, following negotiations where its biggest creditor wrote down a $31 million debt to $12 million.

Current publisher Ben Eason is expected to lead one group seeking control of the company, while the biggest creditor, Atalaya Capital Management, will likely be the other. Atalaya has already made a "stalking horse" offer of $2 million.

One hopes the staff won't be cut too much more by then.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:00pm]

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