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More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times - UPDATE / CONFIRMATION

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by reformedhack, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    My spies tell me there was an unexpected staff meeting yesterday at the Tampa Bay Times, in which news employees were told the newsroom will lose 10 percent of its staff -- most cuts coming from the copy desk. The deskers with the best chance for survival are those who can design pages, as opposed to the wordsmiths.

    The cuts are to begin in May and last through September. (Selective targets, anyone?) If that doesn't make a dent, another round of layoffs will begin next January. It was not immediately known how many reporters or news executives will be affected, nor were there any specifics about the sports department.

    In addition, the regional sections will be published only once a week, effective TBA.

    They also learned that the paper has hired a consulting firm to help it get through the current financial storm. The consultants reported -- almost certainly with executive direction -- that the Times' copy desk is far bigger than those at comparably sized newspapers. That might explain the reduction of the regional editions, because fewer sections require fewer editors.

    More news as it develops.
     
  2. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    Two updates:

    * My spies tell me the cutbacks are expected to affect the Sports copy desk. There also are ongoing discussions about merging the Sports desk into a universal desk.

    * There's unconfirmed word that the consulting firm mentioned previously was mandated by the company that gave the Times a $28 million loan in December. Boston's Crystal Financial LLC -- a company that specializes in "making loans to companies who require more debt capital than is currently made available from traditional lenders," according to its investment profile -- provided the loan, which matures in 2016.
     
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    Meet the CEO:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  4. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    Sigh. I used to write for a Times regional section and they were such well-oiled machines. The thought of one-day-a-week publishing is sad.
     
  5. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    Indeed. For most folks who came up through the Times' and/or the Tribune's bureau systems in the 1980s and '90s, it's almost unimaginable.
     
  6. JennaLaine

    JennaLaine Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    Some really great people over there. UGH :(
     
  7. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    Jim Romenesko mentions this thread on his blog: http://jimromenesko.com/2014/02/28/report-tampa-bay-times-to-cut-10-of-newsroom-staff/

    He writes: "The SportsJournalists.com post matches what I was told in an email yesterday afternoon. (Same person? I don’t know.)"

    Just for the record, no, I didn't email Jim about this post. His tipster is someone else with similar information, apparently.
     
  8. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    Not a pretty picture unfortunately. Some real good people over there and hope they get through this. Not sure I'd want to know 6 months in advance that I might get laid off, but at least they have the chance to jump ship if they can, I suppose.

    http://tbo.com/news/business/tampa-bay-times-finances-strained-20140301/
     
  9. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Active Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    If the Times has this many problems it leads one to wonder how the Tampa Tribune is doing? Does anyone have recent information?
     
  10. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    The Tribune still has its share of problems -- many of them marketplace-perception leftovers caused by the previous ownership, Media General. It will take a while to resolve them, if they're ever really resolved. That said, the paper seems to be doing some things that indicate it's not rolling over and waiting for the inevitable. Which would have happened under MG.

    Many of them are aggressive things, such as launching new editions and purchasing weeklies in the Times' back yard. (A lot of that is mainly window-dressing, to be sure, to be seen as a viable alternative to the Times in Pinellas County, in order to drive traffic to the Tribune's website, where it can compete better than in print.)

    Other moves are simply shoring up the existing print product and overhauling the website -- redesigning and expanding, after both had languished with design and navigation for five years or longer.

    It's definitely not the land of milk and honey, because there have been a handful of layoffs and I've heard about some pay cuts, but the new ownership seems to be interested in making it work. I've also heard a whisper that the paper actually was in the black for the last quarter, but that's not confirmed.

    (Which, for Romenesko's purposes, should not be considered a "report" ... only a rumbling.)
     
  11. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    I'm admittely biased toward the Times, but that author sure seemed to enjoy writing that story. Calling the cafeteria "the elaborate Tramor" was somewhat ridiculous. It had some unique architecture but it wasn't exactly the royal dining room.
     
  12. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Re: More cutbacks to come at Tampa Bay Times

    And now, the confirmation:

    http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/242250/tampa-bay-times-plans-buyouts-in-advance-of-job-reductions/

     
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