Sunday, May 20, 2018
Opinion

Clearwater & North Pinellas Times shifts publication days

Here in the North Pinellas newsroom of the Tampa Bay Times, we work hard every day to bring you informative stories and entertaining features that tell the story of life in the northern half of Pinellas County. Starting this week, you will find some of that coverage in a different place.

Much of our daily North Pinellas news coverage will now appear in the section of the Times labeled Local, also known as the B section. You already go there for North Pinellas obituaries, plus business stories, entertainment news and coverage of the bay area and state. Now the B section also will include more stories about North Pinellas local governments, public safety, politics and news events.

The Clearwater & North Pinellas Times now will publish twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Sundays. You are accustomed to turning to this section for intensely local news from your cities and neighborhoods, investigative stories, heartwarming feature stories, letters to the editor, religion and health news, the crime log, real estate sales and business briefs. And all of those elements are staying right here. Plus, you'll see some new ones in our larger, twice-a-week edition that will publish for the first time Wednesday. See the accompanying box for a guide to the days recurring features will appear.

We understand that this will be an adjustment for our readers. So why are we doing it?

Consolidating sections will save us money on paper costs and simplify press runs. But it also brings the Clearwater & North Pinellas Times in line with our publishing patterns in other parts of our market, including south Pinellas and Hillsborough County, where the community news sections already appear twice a week.

But let me be clear: We are not reducing the number of journalists who cover North Pinellas, the most of any news organization in the area. And our coverage of the news and issues in our community will remain just as aggressive. A lot of news happens in North Pinellas, and you will find it throughout the Times — on the front page when warranted — as well as on our recently reimagined website, Tampabay.com. For Pinellas-specific news, visit tampabay.com/pinellas.

The Times will continue to be your best source for a thorough local news report. In recent weeks, the story of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's plans to build a new facility downtown topped the front page of our newspaper. Our reporting revealed escapes and other problems at a Largo work release center and prompted the state to remove murderers from work-release sites statewide. We were the only news organization to bring you a jailhouse interview with Benjamin Bishop, accused of murdering his mother and her boyfriend in their bed in Oldsmar. We brought you the emotional words of a mother whose 8-year-old son was sexually assaulted at a Clearwater public school. You expect that kind of journalism from the Times; we will continue to deliver it every day.

And in just a few weeks, the North Pinellas reporters, photographers and editors will be doing our work from a modern new office in downtown Clearwater at 1130 Cleveland St.

Please give our new format and schedule a look, starting Wednesday, and let me know what you think. I can be reached at [email protected]

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