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More cutbacks coming at the Tampa Bay Times?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by thesportsscribe, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. thesportsscribe

    thesportsscribe New Member

    Interesting brief from the Tampa Bay Times today, announcing 5 percent pay cuts for all full-time employees and a reduction in severance pay from 13 weeks to eight weeks under a new "cost-savings plan" from the CEO ...... Seemed to have left the door open to more cutbacks in October as well.

    Sad. Hate it for my friends over there. Haven't been told whether this will affect the sports department or not, but I know they cut some people off the desk earlier this year. Deadlines have been tightened big time and it's hell from what I hear.

  2. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Not good. Paul Tash's letter to employees can be found here:

  3. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know the size of that staff compared to what it was 10 years ago? I know at one point, thanks in large part to a huge prep staff, it was one of the biggest staffs in the country. I think I remember being told the only staffs that were larger were the NY papers, the Washington Post, Boston Globe, the LA Times and the Dallas Morning News. Obviously, that's not counting national papers like USA Today.

    Obviously, this was before staffs across the board were decimated by layoffs and buyouts.

    I think St. Pete was one of the last big papers to have layoffs/buyouts, which is probably why they're catching up to everybody now.
  4. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    I believe the Times' sports staff topped out around 45 in the 1990s. The rival Tampa Tribune had a larger staff, peaking at 63 in the mid-1990s, and was one of the largest in the country. By some accounts, it was the largest at one point, although that's somewhat questionable. Still, it was big for a 275,000 daily paper.

    The Tribune's staff advantage was mainly because the Tribune's geographic footprint was larger than the Times', with offices from Gainesville to Sarasota, and as far east as Sebring. The Times had a circulation advantage, though, because its primary territory was along the densely populated Gulf coast compared to the Tribune's inland DMA, which had plenty of rural (read: smaller) communities. The Times overtook the Tribune in circulation during the early 1970s — about the same time the Bay area's massive population boom began.

    Updated to reflect that I was talking about staffing levels in the sports department. Overall, the Times was said to have had more than 400 newsroom employees at its peak, while the Tribune topped out at just over 300 in its late-1980s/early-1990s heyday.
  5. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    I interviewed at The Times in the late 1990s and I was at a paper where we had a staff of 47 and I was told the Times was bigger than that.

    I'm certainly not saying you're wrong, I just wonder if they were including part-timers or 32-hour guys.

    I turned them down, which was one of the bigger mistakes I made during my career.
  6. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    After its last round of layoffs, The Tennessean currently has a sports staff of seven but budgeted for 10.


    It would be totally fascinating and incredibly interesting to see staff sizes, say 20 years ago, compared to now, along with circulation numbers and page counts.

    It would also be incredibly fucking depressing.
  7. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    The numbers I always heard during my many years working in the Tampa Bay market was between 44 and 48 FTEs ... depending on the year, depending on the source.
  8. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    I suspect the number included 32-hour guys, which they had quite a few of at the time.
  9. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    That's mind-numbing. I count four major beats and that's not counting preps.

    So, I guess the answer to which paper in the country is the most fucked, the answer is Nashville.
  10. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    I take that back, Indy is far more fucked than Nashville given who the SE is.
  11. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I went back and checked, just to make sure, seven.
    Vandy, Preds, Titans, two columnists, a backup writer and a GA reporter.

    Looking to hire a UT reporter and two preps writers.

    Since they content share with Knoxville, filling the UT gig will always be "waiting on the right candidate" while they laid off two longtime preps writers in the last round of cuts.

    All due respect to the Ramos haters, but I can't imagine a metro paper with a smaller sports staff.
  12. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    For what it's worth, Jim Romenesko posted this from a tipster:

    " 'Today’s staff meetings were the clearest indication yet that the company is on the brink of doom. The phrase “crisis situation” was used, and staffers with other employment options were urged to take them. Despite what Tash said to his own reporter last month, the name change on the [Tampa entertainment arena] was absolutely about saving money.'

    "The person who sent the above email used a pseudonym, so I sent the email to another Times employee to make sure what he wrote was accurate. The second person confirmed that it was. At today’s meetings, staffers were told “if you have options, you should be exploring them because there’s no guarantee of where we’ll be in three months.”


    I hate to see this happening at any newspaper, but welcome to today's world.
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