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Tampa Bay Times layoffs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by playthrough, Oct 24, 2019.

  1. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    I, for one, appreciate Fredrick's optimism on a day like this.
  2. Raven

    Raven Well-Known Member

    Part of me hopes the season is canceled. No sports in 2020.
  3. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    My knowledge of this is very sketchy but it seems when a paper reduces frequency subscriptions drop. And once the subscriber leaves they do not come back. So the shift to reduced publication rates is probably irrevocable. Gannett tried reduced frequency with a couple papers in Mississippi a couple years ago but to my knowledge did not expand it throughout the chain.

    I know the Times is offering an e-edition as an alternative. But in the thread on the largest chain in Maine reducing frequency their explanation letter they said 70% of their subscribers do not interact with their digital product. Given the demographics of the Tampa area I think a similar statistic holds true for the Times. The e-edition will not bail them out.
    sgreenwell likes this.
  4. Jake from State Farm

    Jake from State Farm Well-Known Member

    Detroit papers are MWSat for the News and MWSun for the Freep
    Everything else is rack and online
  5. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    I think the first time I uttered those words was sometime in 2008.

    There's nothing I can't imagine anymore.
  6. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    They’ll keep Sunday. They might keep one of the midweek papers — Wednesday or Thursday — to insert the grocery ads and fold the weekend preview stories — from both sports and entertainment sections — into a Sunday-like size. Probably make that a Thursday paper.

    But Monday? Meh.

    Monday and Tuesday are big losers revenue-wise. Nobody wants to advertise in a Monday or Tuesday paper. Take a look at which of your seven overall papers is the thinnest on a weekly basis. It’s one of those two, isn’t it? They might even be tied for the bottom in terms of page count if you’re not in an NFL market.

    Depending on where you are, Wednesday or Thursday editions get the grocery ads. The only thing that makes Friday thick is the entertainment section with the calendar, if you still have that section, and maybe some ad inserts (they’re furniture stores here). Saturday is meh, unless you have a separate section for a college football preview which can be bumped back to the midweek edition.

    Monday and Tuesday are the easiest weekday sections to kill, along with whichever of the Wednesday or Thursday editions don’t have the grocery ads. If you have a prep focus-type feature that runs on Wednesday, just bundle it into the midweek edition with the grocery ads as the CP.

    So now we’ve toasted three days of papers. Let’s look at Friday and Saturday.

    Friday’s sports section has the big prep preview. Back that up a day. Now, what’s left in the Friday paper? The section with the entertainment features, calendar and previews. That can back up a day, too. Now, why have a Friday print edition? After all, it just turned into an edition as flimsy as what’s going out Monday and Tuesday. Bye.

    Friday night preps gamers, results coverage and scores for the Saturday paper can move online; hypothetically that will kill the final deadline rush (it will certainly kill zoned-edition deadlines) but you’d be expected to be done by a certain time anyway. Expanded Sunday sports coverage could allow for a feature-oriented expanded look back at Friday night preps during football season, along with Saturday results.

    So what’s left in the Saturday paper? Not much. Bye.

    One thick paper on Sunday. One thick paper at midweek, probably Thursday. Dramatic reduction in newsprint expenditures. Breaking coverage of events in both news and sports moves fully online, because readers aren’t waiting until the next day for news anymore.

    That’s the future.
  7. ChrisLong

    ChrisLong Well-Known Member

    Sports is always the problem. Decision that make sense for the rest of the paper don't make sense for sports.
    There is no news on Sunday, so we don't need a Monday paper. Except sports.
    It will help the paper if we move up deadlines. Nothing happens late. Except sports.
    The paper doesn't need agate. Except sports.
  8. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    At some point, “except for sports” is going to be run over by an economic freight train. The COVID-19 economy just added coal to that freight train’s boiler. We have to plan for things to change, whether we like the changes or not.

    “(K)ill your darlings, kill your darlings,
    even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart,
    kill your darlings.”
    — Stephen King, with a nod to William Faulkner​

    I was in sports journalism for most of my newspaper career. We don’t need agate every day. The people who most crave agate are already dying off. We don’t need to have a print edition on a given day to have sports coverage that people will read.

    I’ve always felt that too many older sports editors and reporters have been clinging to their darlings for far too long due to inertia — “We’ve always done it that way.” Well, here comes the train, y’all. Can we afford to cling to those darlings if they mean we’re tied to the tracks when the train gets here?

    Sports coverage has always been about planning weeks and months ahead. Planning for a product without those daily darlings is only prudent and an extension of what we already do. That way, we’re ahead of things when the executives come along on a late Friday afternoon and say:

    “We’re cutting this, moving that, and doing this other thing which will also affect the sports department directly. The decision is final. You need to figure out how to deal with it and what you’re going to drop or move, because we’re doing it in a month. We’ll have an executive meeting a week from Monday to discuss it and I need a proposal from you at that time.”​

    Instead of cobbling together some panicked half-assed bullshit, we can come back with:

    “OK. We’ve already been planning for something like this possibly happening. Let us tweak what we’ve been already working on to match what you’re calling for, and we’ll have something for you 10 days from now.”​

    (The sports plan will be finalized by Wednesday at most, but no need to tell them that. This is how we enhance our reputations as geniuses.)
    SFIND likes this.
  9. Raven

    Raven Well-Known Member

    Who still relies on the "e-edition"? Jesus.
  10. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    And Tash said they're adding pages, so don't be so judgmental until you see the new B18.

  11. Raven

    Raven Well-Known Member

    Sounds like Tash needs to go.
  12. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    I did like that "downtown edition" the Times published the last time I was in Tampa. A tab with the major local stories of the day, in the hotel lobby. Wonder if they're still doing that.
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