The Tampa Bay Times will temporarily produce print editions only on Sundays and Wednesdays due to a steep drop in advertising because of the coronavirus pandemic. Those are the days when circulation is biggest. The change starts Monday, April 6.
The Times will continue to publish an electronic replica of the newspaper every day at tampabaytimes.com, and the company said it would add pages to the replica edition as it suspends days in print.
The Times also is beefing up its Sunday print edition. Beginning this Sunday, the newspaper will print a tabloid section called Game Times that bundles a week’s worth of puzzles and games. And the Times will bring back the Perspective section featuring opinions, columns and analysis starting Sunday, April 12.
The company reported a surge in traffic to its website — tampabay.com — and growth in digital subscriptions over the last few weeks, but those gains are not strong enough to make up for advertising losses.
During the pandemic, the Times will place some staff on furlough for eight weeks and reduce working hours for others. Those changes most affect the Times’ production and delivery operations but extend to other business departments.
“These extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” said Paul Tash, the Times’ chairman and chief executive. “What doesn’t change is our commitment to our readers and our community.”
“For the time being, we have to change how we deliver the news, but readers can still get every bit of coverage online at tampabay.com and in our electronic edition. Readers can count on us for honest, thorough and up-to-date coverage of the pandemic and the crisis it is creating.”
The company hopes to restore normal operations as the crisis ends and revenue starts to rise, Tash said. “Everybody at the Times looks forward to the day when our country and community have weathered this storm.”