John Romano, a St. Petersburg native and award-winning sports columnist, will become the Times' new metro columnist on Jan. 1.
Romano, 49, whose columns have helped make the St. Petersburg Times' sports section one of the top 10 in the country, will turn his unique viewpoint and writing talent toward topics affecting the lives of residents throughout the Tampa Bay area.
"The Times has a rich tradition of strong, purposeful column writing — and no two voices are the same," said Times Editor Neil Brown. "In Sports, John has shown that he can call out poor performers, tell stories of unsung heroes and demand accountability from those in power.
"Now he will bring those skills to a wider audience, with column writing that can be warm, or tough or witty," Brown said. "As a columnist, John will truly be a man on the streets of Tampa Bay."
Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Romano graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa. He joined the Times as a sports writer in 1985 and has worked in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties.
A columnist since 2002, he has been recognized nationally and in Florida, including honors as one of America's two best sports columnists in 2003.
Romano will appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on Page 1B. His column debuts on the same day the newspaper is renamed the Tampa Bay Times.