Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Opinion

Pasco Times shifts publication days

To our readers:

We in the Pasco newsrooms of the Tampa Bay Times are proud to bring you important news and inspiring features every day that tell the story of life in Pasco County. Starting this week, you will find some of that coverage in a new place.

Most of our daily news stories will now appear in the Local section, also known as the B section, where you'll notice a Pasco label on the front and a dedicated Pasco report inside. You already find local obituaries, as well as bay area, business and entertainment news in the B section. Meanwhile, a larger Pasco Times will publish twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, filled with news analysis, investigative reporting, community news and all of our popular features pages.

Of course, as the news warrants, Pasco stories will continue to appear on the front page of the Times. And as always, any time of day or week, all the news we provide is available on our recently reimagined website, Tampabay.com. Visit tampabay.com/pasco for Pasco news.

We recognize this will be an adjustment for our readers. So why do it?

Consolidating sections certainly saves us money on paper costs and simplifies our printing. This change will bring Pasco County in line with our publishing patterns everywhere else in the area, including Tampa and St. Petersburg, where we already provide a strong daily news report in the B section and supplement it with robust twice-a-week community sections.

But let's be clear: We are not reducing the number of journalists covering Pasco, the most of any news organization in the area. This change also recognizes that Pasco County is an increasingly influential player in the Tampa Bay area, and that often its news is of interest to a wider audience. Many Pasco stories — ranging from the plans by T. Rowe Price and Raymond James to build campuses here, to the battles over Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point's new trauma center — already appear in the main edition of the paper because of their important regional impact. More of our human interest stories should reach a larger audience, too.

All of the features you've come to expect will still appear in the twice-a-week edition of the Pasco Times, though some will move to a new day:

• The Top of the Class page will now appear on Sundays, instead of Wednesdays, with a dose of positive school news and important notices for students and their families as they head into the school week.

• The Diversions page — under the new name Things to Do — will appear on Wednesdays, instead of Fridays, giving you a jump start on planning which plays, concerts or festivals you want to check out that weekend.

• Hometown Pasco will continue to run twice a week — now Sundays and Wednesdays — with photos highlighting your neighbors' good news. Keep sending your submissions to Gail Diederich at [email protected]

• Outdoors coverage, including community sports stories and the popular Diggin' Florida Dirt column, will appear Wednesdays.

• The Sunday Pasco Times will continue to have local editorials, letters to the editor and occasional guest columns.

• The real estate listings will run on Wednesdays, instead of Saturdays.

• The business listings will appear on Sundays, instead of Saturdays.

And the Pasco Times editions will continue to provide distinctive reports on our local issues as well, as we have during our four-decade legacy in Pasco.

In recent months, we've brought you exclusive stories about the turmoil at New Port Richey's volunteer-run animal protection unit. We provided in-depth reporting on the Pasco schools superintendent's plans to close Moore Mickens Education Center (now shelved) and eliminate media specialists' jobs (still moving forward). We've taken readers to the front porch of a grieving man burning the belongings of a jealous friend who just killed his wife, and to the courthouse with a couple fighting to adopt the 17-year-old boy they've raised since birth. We provided a reality check on an episode of Car Lot Rescue that claimed to turn around a Hudson dealership that had long since closed.

And we've brought you features you won't find anywhere else, like the backstory of the delightful folk song Country Breakfast, which was inspired by a no-nonsense server at a Dade City diner. Or the amazing tale of an east Pasco woman who discovered, through a typo, that the father she never knew was a Cold War hero.

We'll keep bringing those stories to you — you'll just find them in the B section more often. I know that will be a change for many of you who start your day by reaching for the Pasco Times. But please give the new format a chance. I'm confident you'll find a robust Pasco County report in your Tampa Bay Times.

I welcome your feedback at [email protected]

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