Make us your home page

Tampa Tribune trims staff, plans a smaller daily paper

The Tampa Tribune has confirmed several significant changes coming this week and next, from the layoff of a well-known columnist to a redesign coming Monday that will significantly reduce the size of the weekday newspaper.

Executive editor Janet Coats said editorial writer and columnist Joe Brown was laid off Monday, among four editorial staffers let go. Tribune owner Media General said earlier this year it planned to eliminate 250 jobs in 2008 at its Florida outlets, including Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8 and

Coats would not detail the changes coming in the newspaper's Monday edition; rumors persist that the Tribune will present a two-section edition weekdays. These changes come as the company completes a sweeping reorganization and merging of the newsrooms at the Tribune, WFLA and, focused on gathering information first for the Web site and later for the newspaper and TV station.

The changes at Media General come as falling advertising revenue and rising expenses force news outlets across the state and the nation to consider serious changes to their business and editorial structures.

On Monday, the Tampa alternative newspaper chain Creative Loafing filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while struggling to pay a $40-million debt. The 6-year-old New York Sun newspaper published its last edition Tuesday after substantial losses.

And three South Florida newspapers that usually compete against one another — the Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale — announced this year they would share some news material to shave costs.

At the St. Petersburg Times, 201 people accepted an enhanced retirement package offered by the company earlier this year, including 26 newsroom staffers. The paper had already instituted a yearlong pay freeze and reduced the size of its weekday editions to curb costs.

Brown, 58, is likely the best-known name among Tribune staffers laid off this year, a 14-year employee who is also the paper's highest-profile columnist of color. He said he had no idea what he might do next.

"The old (economic model) for newspapers is fading away … (but) I don't think the Internet will save newspapers, either," he said. "You need 22 Internet readers to produce the same revenue as one newspaper reader."

But Coats said the coming changes balance reduced resources with the new ways readers use the newspaper.

"People tend to be skimmers during the week, reading more in depth in the weekend," she said. "People use the paper differently now, and we have to reflect that."

Tampa Tribune trims staff, plans a smaller daily paper 10/01/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 3:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]