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A chronology of the St. Petersburg Times

A chronology of the St. Petersburg Times:

1884

• July 25 – The first issue of the West Hillsborough Times, the forerunner of the St. Petersburg Times, is published.

• J.M. "Doc" Baggett, Dr. J.L. Edgar, and M. Joel McMullen are the founders of the Times. Baggett is the editor, Edgar serves as the business manager, and McMullen is the printer.

• The Times is a four-page weekly based in Dunedin, Florida. It is printed on a Washington hand press in the rear of Dr. J.L. Edgar's pharmacy. The press can print four, six-column pages at a time. 200 copies can be printed in an hour and type is set by hand one character at a time. Two of the four pages are preprinted in Atlanta.

• Spring/Summer – In the 1980s former Times executive editor Tom Harris described the beginning of the small newspaper:

"The most important cargo on a barge slipping down the Mississippi River in the spring of 1884 was a Washington hand press consigned to a drugstore in Dunedin, Florida, a coastal village in West Hillsborough County. Upon reaching New Orleans, the press' 2,500 pounds of cast iron would be transferred to a coastal schooner and eventually would arrive in Clearwater Harbor.

Few of the deckhands on either the river barge or the schooner knew or cared that this box of machinery would be used to print the new West Hillsborough Times, a newspaper destined to survive a century without missing an edition. The paper would become, in time, after moving its home to a third city and surviving many hardships, the St. Petersburg Times.

• December – Arthur C. Turner buys the West Hillsborough Times and moves it to Clearwater. Rev. Cooley S. Reynolds becomes the new editor.

• Dec. 4 – Times editorial: "Salutatory"

"We greet the readers of the Times as kindly as this style of introduction will permit --gladly observing that they have already become a numerous family, and fondly trusting that their numbers will soon increase a hundred fold…. We expect, and shall try very hard, to tell the truth; but it will take a long time to tell the whole truth about even this small territory which we especially represent."

1885

• The newspaper's weekly circulation is about 480.

1892

• Fall – Richard J. Morgan buys the West Hillsborough Times for $1,200 and moves it to St. Petersburg. As the new editor, Morgan experiments with different names: the Times, the News, the Once a Week, but by 1894 or 1895, he settles on the St. Petersburg Times as the new name.

1898

• Oct. 8 – More than half of the newspaper's front page includes advertising. There are ads for wagons, harnesses, buggies, patent medicines, steamer and railroad tickets.

1900

• Sept. 7 – Editor and owner J. Ira Gore dies. His son, J. Ira Gore, Jr., publishes the paper until a new owner is found.

1901

• April 1 – William Lincoln Straub, A.P. Avery, and A.H. Lindelie buy the newspaper from the Gore family for $1,300. Straub becomes the new editor of the St. Petersburg Times.

• The annual subscription rate for the newspaper is $1.50 a year.

• The Times is an eight-page paper with four of those pages preprinted in Atlanta.

1912

• The Times has a staff of five people.

• A double cylinder flatbed press that can print eight pages at a time and 1,200 copies an hour is purchased from the Ladies' Home Journal.

• Jan. 10 – The Times is printed everyday of the week except Mondays.

• March 21 – The Times prints its first extra edition. The special edition deals with a $1,000 jewelry store robbery.

• April 16 – Times news story: "Titantic (sic) Sinks with 1,530 Souls Aboard"

"...The Titanic, sister ship to the Olympic and the largest vessel afloat, sank Monday morning, carrying 1,530 souls down with her. Out of a total of 2,200 people, which composed the passengers and crew, only a bare 670 were saved…. The Titanic, which was the largest ship ever built in the history of the world, was on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York."

• September – Paul Poynter buys majority stock in the Times Publishing Co. from W.L. Straub. The stock costs $3,000 and Poynter assumes the paper's outstanding liabilities for $7,000. Straub remains as editor and Poynter becomes the new manager and president.

1914

• Aug. 2 – The Times prints a World War I extra with pictures and maps. More than 1,000 copies are sold.

1915

• Feb. 25 – Eleven-year-old Nelson Poynter writes his first newspaper article for the Times. The story is about the crash of a small airplane into Tampa Bay near the old St. Petersburg pier.

1918

• March 17 – The Times announces that the weekly Times will be consolidated with the Sunday Times. The weekly was an extra edition containing a round-up of the week's news.

• Nov. 13 – Times editorial: "Peace Not Yet Fixed"

"While the armistice has stilled the guns and ended the war so far as the actual fighting is concerned, it has not solved the problem of peace. The part the United States has played in the war has been a noble one. The service to mankind performed through Woodrow Wilson's diplomacy ... brought the cracking of the great Teutonic war machine."

1921

• The Times moves into a new three-story brick building on the southeast corner of First Avenue and Fifth Street South.

• Jan. 4 – Times editorial: "The Times Moves"

"This is the first issue of the Times from its new publishing house…. From a little old Washington handpress back in 1901, which is not so ancient a period as time goes nowadays, to a monster 25-page Hoe web-perfecting press, is a giant stride.

….The new Times, like the old, will be battling for what it believes the best interests of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, and its new equipment and greater facilities will increase its responsibilities for service."

• Oct. 25 – The Times continues to publish even when the city loses its electricity during a hurricane. A motorcycle engine is used to power the linotype machine.

* Oct. 27 – Times editorial: "Pinellas Storm"

"....the storm which swept Pinellas Peninsula was a severe one and the damage it did was great. It was the newspaper's duty to furnish this news to the people as completely and as thoroughly as it was able to do even under the adverse circumstances. And we are publishing a newspaper."

1922

• Daily circulation is 4,409.

• Oct. 7 – Times editorial: "Talking to London"

"When Marconi first perfected his wireless telegraph and it became possible to transmit messages through this medium, it was considered that he had accomplished all that could be possible in that line, but from that time the proficiency of aerial communication service has advanced until, on last Saturday, a concert given in Newark, NJ, was heard in London, England.

The Newark test established for the first time the possibility of trans-Atlantic communication by this means.

It is good to live in this age of progress."

1924

• Nov. 3 – Times editorial: "Seven Days a Week"

"Today the St. Petersburg Times becomes a seven-day newspaper, and, with this issue, goes to press on Monday morning for the first time in its history. The pride the Times feels in this accomplishment is not that it merely has reached the place where the physical equipment and man power necessary to the greater undertaking is available, but in the fact that the growth of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County has made it necessary."

• December – The newspaper's crossword puzzle makes its debut.

1926

• The Times begins relocating to its new eight-story building at 440 First Ave. S. The move will be finished in 1927.

Two new presses, a Goss and a Hoe, are purchased for the newspaper's new building. The Goss press has a color attachment that is used to print the Sunday comics. ("Line Color")

1929

• A copy of the Times costs five cents.

1930

• Daily circulation is 11,481.

1933

• March 4 – Times editorial: "A Change at Washington"

"Undoubtedly the people expect a great deal from President Roosevelt, and it will be pathetic indeed if it should be proved that they expected too much. Our own expectations are very high, but at this time we cannot altogether forget the enormous gravity of all the possibilities."

1934

• There are 15 people on the newspaper's news staff.

July 25 – The Times celebrates its 50th anniversary.

• Oct. 26 – Times editorial: "After Prohibition, What Then?"

"Now that repeal seems certain within a few days from now and that the sale of liquor legally and officially soon will be recognized by the state, it is time to think seriously about the bootlegger.... It is the duty of every enforcement agent to grid himself for a battle completely to eradicate the bootlegger and his pre-prohibition counterpart -- the blind tiger."

1935

• The newspaper increases its Associated Press service to 24 hours a day.

• July – Times publisher Paul Poynter overextends himself with real estate and other financial deals and loses control of the Times Publishing Company. The Smith and Ottaway families, who now own the majority of Times stock, take over. During a seven-week legal battle Nelson Poynter helps his father regain control of the company.

• Sept. 8 – The following notice appears in the newspaper:

"Back in 1926 the Times asked its readers for an expression of what they liked about the paper and what they didn't like. Thousands of readers filled out the questionnaire and mailed it in. It proved of great value to the editors.... But times have changed and the Times is anxious for a new expression about its features, comic strips and news reports.... It will take you about five minutes to sit down and fill out the questionnaire below. Will you do it?"

1937

• Aug. 2 – Times editorial: "Life in 2037"

"Most of us undoubtedly would be intrigued by a glimpse into the future to see what life in the United States 100 years from now may be like.

The national resources committee reported on new industrial inventions which it feels may effect disturbing changes in employment, not only 100 years from now, but possibly within the next 20 years:

1. air-conditioning

2. trailers

3. plastics

4. prefabricated houses

5. television"

1939

• April 11 – Nelson Poynter becomes the new editor of the St. Petersburg Times.

1940

• The Times Publishing Co. enters the broadcast field when it buys radio station WTSP. Broadcast studios are located in the newspaper's downtown St. Petersburg building. (The radio station is sold in 1956.)

1941

• Dec. 7 – The newspaper prints a World War II extra with the headline "WAR" printed in large red letters.

1945

• Nov. 2 – Nelson Poynter speech excerpt:

"We Are Remiss in Research," Associated Dailies of Florida

"As custodians of one of democracy's essential freedoms we are guilty of technological backwardness. We have been remiss in discovering new tools to implement that freedom. As an industry we have done practically nothing to further basic research.

....We have learned enough to know that we have learned little. We have learned that as an industry we are backward in research, and that we are not seizing the new technologies and discoveries of recent years. As an industry we must improve and expand -- or we will dwindle and die."

1947

• Daily circulation is 31,336.

• August – Paul Poynter sells his remaining shares of Times Publishing Co. common stock to Nelson Poynter.

• Aug. 6 – Nelson Poynter writes his "Standards for Ownership" to express his philosophy of journalism and his policies for running an independent newspaper. The standards are circulated to Times staffers and readers. (In 1979 the standards are updated by editor and president Eugene Patterson and renamed the "Standards of Operation.")

1954

• Sept. 6 – A large photo of the Skyway bridge is the newspaper's first full-color front page photo. The photo is for a story describing the opening of the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

1957

• The average size of the St. Petersburg Times is 50 pages. There are 500 full-time staffers working at the newspaper.

1958

• Daily circulation is 93,566. Sunday circulation is 97,403.

• Donald K. Baldwin is named the new managing editor of the Times.

1959

•Daily circulation reaches 100,000.

• April – The 34th Street printing plant is dedicated. The $2.5 million structure contains 10 Walter Scott presses capable of printing 128 pages at 60,000 per hour with the opportunity for process and single color.

• July 19 – "Our Editorial Philosophy" by Nelson Poynter, Times Mark 75 Edition:

"All editorial policy of this newspaper stems from the firm conviction that the Suncoast can be the finest place in the world to live. The Times has had this goal during its long history. Only a few readers will differ with this basic program. But people, not newspapers, convert ideas into realities. An editorial is impotent until a group of people, a civic organization or government, breathes life into it.

...The St. Petersburg Times staff regards a newspaper as a service rather than a commodity. The only client is the reader. These services range from a weather report or a baseball box score and financial table to the most important and difficult job of reporting, interpreting and commenting on government, and those who are in office -- or want to be.

During its history, the majority of readers have not always agreed with the Times' position on numerous issues. But the paper has been durable enough to see a dissenting opinion grow into a majority on many occasions. We try to avoid the sin of pride of opinion. Only if our editorial position is sound for the great majority can it endure. We would not want it otherwise."

1962

• June – The Times purchases its afternoon competitor, the Evening Independent, from the Thomson Newspaper company.

• Dick Bothwell begins a popular Times newspaper column called "Of All Things." The column continues until 1981.

1963

• Nov. 18 – The Times reports on President John Kennedy's visit to Tampa. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas just a few days after his visit to Tampa.

• Nov. 23 – Times editorial: "He Shall Not Have Died in Vain"

"Disbelief. Shock. Anguish. Outrage -- a thundering, towering outrage, mingled with shame, guilt and remorse.

Is there a citizen of the United States worthy of the name who did not feel these emotions yesterday afternoon?

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, only last Monday -- Monday of this week -- smilingly greeting his Suncoast admirers at Al Lopez Field, freely, casually pressing through crowds, warmly shaking hands with everyone who could reach him.

...The assassination of President Kennedy gives the United States a new goal. It must now prove to the world that democracy can work without eruptions of violence, that men can live in both freedom and justice."

1964

•May 4 – The Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service is awarded to the St. Petersburg Times and reporter Martin Waldron for coverage of financial abuses at the Florida Turnpike Authority. The newspaper's investigation leads to the reorganization of state auditing and bonding practices.

1965

• January – The Computer Services Department is created. In May, two Honeywell Model 200 computers are installed.

1966

May – Robert Haiman is named the new managing editor of the St. Petersburg Times. He becomes executive editor in 1976 and president of the Poynter Institute in 1983.

1968

• April 5 – Times editorial: "It's Still the Answer"

"The long road from Montgomery was ended for Dr. Martin Luther King by an assassin's bullet in Memphis.

Along the way, Dr. King helped bring his nation to some of its finest hours.

His violent death was one of its darkest.

The danger now is that the brutal murder of Dr. King will strengthen those who preach both racism and violence.

But the great majority of Americans of all races should know that the answer of Gandhi and Martin Luther King was the right one.

It is the truth that prevails even after assassins fire their futile bullets."

1969

• The Times moves into a new five-story building. The 1920s eight-story structure is remodeled.

1970

• Daily circulation is 160,937. Sunday circulation is 182,051.

1971

• Excerpt from Nelson Poynter's introduction to the 1971 annual report to the Times staff:

"I want the whole staff to suffer – bleed – and to weep with me if there is one typographical error on Page 48 – a single wrong address in the whole multi-million classified ad department – one missed delivery of a paper before 6 a.m. – a wet paper in stormy weather – a badly printed picture – one little imperfection in our relation to all those beautiful readers.

With every staffer doing just that little extra – every day – we will be Florida's Best every day in happy 1972."

1972

• February – Eugene Patterson becomes the new editor and president of the St. Petersburg Times and Times Publishing Co.

1973

• Nov. 1 – Times Pasco County reporter Lucy Morgan is sentenced to jail for refusing to tell the state attorney the name of a source. (This case will end in 1976 with the Florida Supreme Court's ruling, Morgan v. State, overturning Lucy Morgan's conviction for refusing to reveal her sources.)

1974

• Computers begin to replace typewriters in the news department.

1975

• May 29 – Nelson Poynter announces that the Modern Media Institute will be started and that Donald K. Baldwin, former editor of the St. Petersburg Times, will become the Institute's first director. Initially the Modern Media Institute is financed by The Poynter Fund. (In 1984 the Modern Media Institute changes its name to The Poynter Institute.) On November 10, 1975 the Modern Media Institute's articles of incorporation are issued. This is the official beginning of the se school.

1976

• February – Andy Barnes is named the new managing editor of the St. Petersburg Times. Robert Haiman becomes the newspaper's executive editor.

1977

• Jan. 12 – In a videotaped interview, Nelson Poynter talked about the Modern Media Institute:

"Modern Media Institute is going to be something big and important. It has to live modestly for quite a number of years, but its job is to help train the people who are going to help maintain the stability, the progress, the integrity of self-government, which I mentioned before, from a historic standpoint, is still a very frail, and a very new experiment.

… Modern Media Institute which Don Baldwin heads will be my chief heir. It already has the stock in the Times Holding Company that was owned by the Poynter Fund and its proxy will go to Gene Patterson after I'm gone. The Times Publishing Company of course will continue to pay corporate taxes, and so forth. Modern Media Institute will be something the staff is tremendously proud of because it's dedicated to one thing and that is to make modern media on which self-government rests better and more responsive to the people of this country."

• Feb. 15 – Nelson Poynter announces that he has willed his ownership of the Times Publishing Co. to the Modern Media Institute.

1978

• Daily circulation is 198,542. Sunday circulation is 247,974.

• June 15 – Nelson Poynter dies at the age of 74. Poynter had become ill in his office just a few hours after he helped break ground for the new St. Petersburg campus of the University of South Florida.

• June 16 – The Times Publishing Co. board of directors names editor and president Eugene Patterson as the new chief executive officer of the company.

1980

• April – The Times is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. The Pulitzer is for coverage of the Church of the Scientology by Charles Stafford and Bette Swenson Orsini.

1982

• Jan. 17 – The Times experiments with computer-assisted reporting when it purchases a computer tape containing census information. On Jan. 17, the Times publishes articles and graphics based on the tape's data.

1984

• April 1 – Eugene Patterson becomes chairman of the board of the Times Publishing Company. Andy Barnes is named the new St. Petersburg Times editor and president.

• April 30 – Time magazine lists the St. Petersburg Times as one of America's top 10 newspapers.

• July 25 – The Times celebrates its 100th anniversary.

• July 26 – Times editorial: "Our Second Century"

"Newspaper work, as it must be, is obsessed with the future. The idea of tomorrow's newspaper, and those that will follow, becomes a companion for all who work at shaping it. That is one reason this 100th anniversary year has been a special one for members of the staff of the St. Petersburg Times. While working on tomorrow's newspapers, we had the pleasure of exploring the rich chapters of our past.

...Our wish is that, when we and our community mark the end of our second century, it will be said that by reporting the news and searching for its true meanings the St. Petersburg Times helped light the way as brightly in its second 100 years as it did in its first."

1985

• April 21 – Times Publishing Co. announces that it will expand its headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg with a new eight-story building. Part of the design challenge for the architects is to integrate the three different Times buildings while maintaining the historical integrity of the older ones.

• April 24 – The Times earns a Pulitzer Prize. The award is for Lucy Morgan and Jack Reed's investigation into corruption at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

1986

• Nov. 7 – The Evening Independent prints its last edition.

1987

• The Times newspaper library stops clipping articles and begins using a new electronic archive system. Each day's electronic files are added to the online DataTimes service. Within a short time the newspaper also joins the Dialog and Nexis database services.

1988

• Oct. 30 – The newspaper's new $12 million downtown building is dedicated.

• Oct. 30 – Eugene Patterson writes his last St. Petersburg Times newspaper column as chief executive officer of the Times Publishing Co.: "Saying Farewell to a Long and Rewarding Career in Journalism"

"You'll note my name is coming off the masthead now. I turned 65 this month and decided 41 years in the news arena was plenty. So I'm hanging up the gloves and retiring to play with my grandchildren and write a book or two.

Control of the Times Publishing Company passes to Andy Barnes, my designated hitter, who will run it well. Not yet 50, he came down with me from the Washington Post and proved he could play all the positions with elan and lead with the right vision.

This is a note of thanks to you always-faithful and often-forgiving readers who have made my 17 years at the St. Petersburg Times the best. And it is a love letter about the news business to those young people who are interested in journalism but who may wonder if there's a better way to make a living. I can't imagine that there is....

• Oct. 31 – Andy Barnes succeeds Eugene Patterson as chief executive officer of Times Publishing Co.

• November – The Poynter Institute and Times Publishing Co. respond to the news that two of Nelson Poynter's nieces sold their inherited Times Publishing Co. stock to a group of investors led by Robert Bass. The niece's 200 shares of Times common stock were originally sold to their mother, Eleanor Jamison, by her brother, Nelson Poynter, in 1947. Eleanor Jamison died in 1987. After the stock sale the Robert Bass group owned 40 percent of the Times voting stock and 5.7 percent of the total number of shares outstanding. November 1988 marks the beginning of an approximately two-year long struggle over the stock's value and the ownership of the Times Publishing Co.

1991

• April – The Times is awarded its fourth Pulitzer Prize. The prize for feature writing is awarded to Sheryl James for "A Gift Abandoned," a series about a Temple Terrace woman who abandoned her newborn baby in a cardboard box next to a Dumpster.

1992

• September – Paul Tash becomes the new executive editor of the Times.

1994

• March 31 – Daily circulation is 378,723. Sunday circulation is 470,521.

1995

• Feb. 19 – The Times launches its first online Web project. The site offers a tour of the "Treasures of Czars" exhibit at the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg.

• March 9 – More than 22,000 Times baseball extras are sold when St. Petersburg is awarded an expansion baseball team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

• April 18 – Jeff Good wins the newspaper's fifth Pulitzer Prize for his editorial series, "Final Indignities," which detailed the inadequacies of Florida's probate system. Good was honored in the editorial writing category. His series detailed ways in which personal estates are sometimes raided by probate lawyers and executors after the deaths of the benefactors.

1996

• May – Veteran reporter Peggy M. Peterman retires after 31 years at the Times. After spending 20 years as a feature writer, Peterman became a columnist, and then in 1994 she joined the Times editorial board. In December 1996 the Times creates a FAMU college journalism scholarship in her honor.

1997

March 31 – Daily circulation is 362,920. Sunday circulation is 459,499.

1998

• April – Tom French wins the newspaper's sixth Pulitzer Prize for his seven-part series, "Angels & Demons," which chronicled the events and investigation that led to the conviction of Oba Chandler in the 1989 murders of Jo, Michelle and Christe Rogers. French's October 1997 series was honored in the Pulitzer's feature writing category.

1999

• March 31 – Daily circulation is 359,214. Sunday circulation is 452,723.

• April 9 – TampaBay.com, the Times new entertainment/community Web site, goes online. Entertainment news for the site is pulled from the newspaper's various local editions.

2000

• Jan. 1 – Times editorial: "100 Years to Right Wrongs"

"…Our grandparents and great-grandparents stood on the threshold of the 20th century and declared that it would be a time of miracles: horseless carriages, flying machines, trips to the moon, freedom from disease. So we, too, look to the 21st century…. We can forge the future we want: We are rich enough and smart enough to create, if not the New Jerusalem, a green, tolerant, healthy society with amazing machines as our servants. But we can only solve poverty, prejudice and hatred through advances in the technology of the human heart."

• Feb. 23 – Paul Tash is named editor and president. Andy Barnes, who has been editor and president since 1984, and chairman and chief executive officer of the Times Publishing Co. since 1988, remains as chairman and CEO.

• July – Marty Petty, former publisher of the Hartford Courant, is named the new executive vice president of the St. Petersburg Times.

• Nov. 7 – The Times works under a presidential election night deadline to find accurate front page headlines. Among the banner headlines: "Photo Finish," "Florida Finish," "Bush Wins," "Recount," and "State of Confusion." The 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush ends with a controversial Florida vote recount. The winner is not officially decided until December.

2001

• Sept. 11 – Times editorial: "A Day of Loss"

"The United States is at war. Our enemies have assaulted the symbols of our economic and military power, and the magnitude of the loss – in human life, in economic devastation, in damage to the national psyche – is almost beyond comprehension. Sept. 11, 2001, takes its place alongside Dec. 7, 1941, as the most evil dates in American history.

…. Americans mourn for the thousands of fellow citizens whose lives were ripped apart by the coordinated acts of terrorism at the Pentagon and World Trade Center. We also mourn for our collective loss. Our sense of security, personally and as a nation, may never be the same.

… As we struggle in the days and weeks to come to terms with our almost unimaginable loss, let us cling even more closely to the values for which the United States has long stood – and which no enemy can destroy.”

2003



• March 20 – Times editorial: “The Onset of War” “The opening salvo of the war in Iraq provided a taste of the overwhelming superiority of American military firepower and expertise. U.S. planners hope that the early bombardment will cow Iraqi troops and political leaders into surrender, shortening the war, limiting civilian casualties and making life safer for the American ground troops who will be called upon to secure Iraq’s cities and countryside in the weeks ahead. Americans can be proud of the courage and competence of our troops, and we can take comfort in our armed forces’ ability to protect U.S. interests at home and abroad. However, military superiority alone cannot ensure the long-term success of our political goals.”

2004



• May 15 – Editor and president Paul Tash succeeds Andy Barnes as chairman and chief executive officer of Times Publishing Co.

• Sept. 10 – Times Publishing Co. launches a free weekly tabloid-style newspaper called tbt*. he name tbt* is short for Tampa Bay Times. It is targeted at readers ages 25-35 who may not be regular readers of the St. Petersburg Times.

• Sept. 30 – St. Petersburg Times daily circulation is 311,680. Sunday circulation is 395,973.

2006



• March 6 – The first edition of the daily tbt*/Tampa Bay Times is printed. The inaugural press run of 42,550 began at 2 a.m. at the 34th Street Plant in St. Petersburg. • June – A new audio recording facility for Web podcasts is installed on the fourth floor of the downtown Times office. The new suite includes a sound-proof room for podcast hosting and a separate room with recording equipment.

2007



• Aug. 5 – Times column by Paul Tash: “No Room for Tycoons: As Other Newspapers Get Gobbled Up, Our Independence is Protected.” “Nelson Poynter, who created the modern St. Petersburg Times, once observed, ‘I haven’t met my great-grandchildren, I might not like them.’ Last week, the descendants of the man who owned the Wall Street Journal agreed to sell that company to Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon. Mr. Poynter would not have liked that. He believed fiercely that newspapers should be independent and rooted in their communities. To keep this one from falling into the hands of a larger corporation, he created a unique ownership structure that could outlive him. Essentially, he gave away his life’s work. When Poynter died in 1978, he left the St. Petersburg Times not to his wife or his daughters, but to a school. ...Yes, these are challenging times in the news business, especially in Florida, where the moribund real estate market is dragging down the economy. But thanks to Mr. Poynter, this organization is built to weather a rough stretch.”

• Aug. 19 -- Online message by Bill Adair: “PolitiFact Today” “Welcome to PolitiFact, a project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly. In the months ahead, the news staffs of both organizations will examine major claims by presidential candidates and rule on their veracity. Our Truth-O-Meter will help voters sort fact from fiction in the campaign. This is a working database and over time it will grow more valuable. Today, we examine Obama’s claim that he refuses lobbyist money, we check Obama Girl’s attack against Rudy Giuliani and we scrutinize Joe Biden’s diagnosis that President Bush is brain-dead. We welcome feedback via email or you can click the link below to post a comment.”

• Sept. 30 – Times daily circulation is 288,807. Sunday circulation is 389,952.

2008



• June 30 – The Times increases its daily price to 50 cents. The cost of the Sunday newspaper remains the same at $1. (In 1911, a single-copy of the Times cost 3 cents and two decades later it was 5 cents.)

• Sept. 30 – Daily circulation is 268,935. Sunday circulation is 390,289.

• Nov. 5 – Times editorial: “Obama’s Victory, and America’s” “Americans on Tuesday turned a page of history, breaking through the partisan politics and racial barriers of the past to embrace the inspiring voice of a new generation. Barack Obama’s remarkable rise from modest beginnings to his election as the nation’s first black president is a uniquely American success story, and the voters’ recognition of his talents and their confidence in his potential sends a positive message to the world. The 47-year-old first-term senator from Illinois tapped into the hunger for change and for candidates who unite rather than divide. ...These would be challenging times for any incoming president. At home and abroad, the nation has lost its balance. It will require a commitment to common goals and shared sacrifice by Americans to regain solid footing, and it will not happen overnight. On Tuesday, voters placed their faith in an engaging young leader to transform Washington and steer this country toward a brighter future. If Barack Obama is as effective at governing as he has been at campaigning, he should get off to a fine start.”

2009



• April 20 – St. Petersburg Times writer Lane DeGregory is awarded the feature writing Pulitzer Prize for her story about the discovery of a feral child shut off from the world until she was discovered and adopted by a supportive family. A second Pulitzer is awarded to St. Petersburg Times staff for PolitFact, for its fact-checking initiative during the 2008 presidential campaign that used probing reporters and the power of the Web to examine political claims.

A chronology of the St. Petersburg Times 06/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 18, 2009 6:46pm]

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