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Jennifer Orsi named Tampa Bay Times managing editor

A woman who grew up in Pinellas County avidly reading her hometown newspaper will now lead its day-to-day operations.

Jennifer Orsi, 47, was named managing editor of the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday, the first woman in the newspaper's 130-year history to take complete charge of the daily report, both in print and on the Web.

Orsi rose through the ranks of the news operation since her first internship in 1986, most recently overseeing the metro and business report. She succeeds Mike Wilson, who left in December.

"We're producing more stories and content online, but it still requires journalists who are rock solid in the fundamentals,'' said Times editor Neil Brown. "Jennifer straddles the digital and print worlds beautifully. This reflects our commitment to local news around Tampa Bay.''

Orsi's grounding in local news, plus her adaptability, were key factors in her promotion, said Brown, whose announcement Wednesday in the St. Petersburg newsroom brought cheers from the staff.

The Times and the entire industry face a dramatically shifting marketplace. Traditional advertising revenues and print circulation are dropping while websites, video and social media command increasing resources and attention. Papers juggle internal management structures trying to stay abreast.

Brown also announced three new deputy managing editors.

Ron Brackett, 51, will be deputy managing editor in charge of tampabay.com as well as presentation and copy desks. Brackett is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and a 28-year Times veteran.

Amy Hollyfield, 43, will be deputy managing editor over political coverage, PolitiFact, business news, Perspective and the Floridian magazine. Hollyfield is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Chris Davis, 42, a graduate of the University of South Carolina, will be deputy managing editor for investigations and data journalism, an expanding field based on research through large data sources.

They join two existing deputy managing editors — Jack Sheppard, who oversees sports and photography, and Jeanne Grinstead, who oversees features/lifestyles.

Orsi grew up in Clearwater and graduated from Dunedin High School and Indiana University. She has worked as a reporter or editor in Times offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Brandon, Carrollwood and Clearwater.

"I'm incredibly honored to be able to help lead a newspaper I have read all my life,'' Orsi said. "I am very excited to be working with the best journalists anywhere.''

Orsi and her husband, Times deputy sports editor Mike Stephenson, have two children and live in Tampa.

A new metro editor overseeing local news will be announced soon.

Stephen Nohlgren can be reached at nohlgren@tampabay.com.

Jennifer Orsi named Tampa Bay Times managing editor 06/04/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10:26pm]
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