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Tampa Bay Times to restore temporary 5 percent pay reduction

The Tampa Bay Times is ending a temporary 5 percent pay reduction to full-time staffers that the newspaper enacted in September.

The higher pay will be restored effective July 2.

"The Tampa Bay Times continues to attract new readers, and there are encouraging signs that advertisers are following them to Florida's favorite newspaper," company chairman and CEO Paul Tash said in a note to staffers. "This decision represents a bet that we can keep those trend lines headed in the right direction, and that we can keep finding ways to reduce other expenses."

Among recent developments: Newspaper circulation figures released this month show the Times has widened its lead over the rival Tampa Tribune as the dominant paper in the region. The Times' average Sunday circulation rose about 1 percent to 432,202 while average daily circulation rose just more than 2 percent to 299,497 in the six-month period ended March 31. In contrast, the Sunday circulation at the Tribune was virtually unchanged at 262,369, while daily circulation fell 20,000 copies, or 12 percent, to 144,510.

The Times' initial pay reduction in September was to last five months, with staffers receiving an additional five days off with pay as compensation. In January, the reduction was extended through May, along with four additional paid days off.

Over the past few years, many newspaper companies have reduced costs and laid off workers in response to a sluggish economy and depressed advertising revenues.

"In this fragile economy, I cannot promise that there is only smooth sailing ahead," Tash said in his note. "But your dedication and commitment have kept the Times moving forward, no matter what."

Tampa Bay Times to restore temporary 5 percent pay reduction 05/22/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 11:05pm]
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