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Tampa Tribune launches St. Petersburg edition ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by reformedhack, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    ... called the St. Petersburg Tribune. It's clearly a shot at the St. Petersburg Times, which rebranded itself as the Tampa Bay Times last year and consequently angered a lot of Pinellas County residents who claimed that the Times was forgetting its roots.

    Near as I can tell, and from what I'm told, the Tribune's new product is just a different flag on Page 1A. We'll see how it evolves.

    Not sure how much difference it'll make, since the Tribune sells only about 10,000 copies in Pinellas County anyway, but if it means growing circulation without spending tons of dollars (as was the case when the Tribune/Times newspaper war began in earnest 26 years ago), it might be well worth it.

    Either way, it's nice to see my alma mater playing offense rather than defense for a change.

  2. 1HPGrad

    1HPGrad Member

    Oh, little brother. I can only imagine how hard Tash's boys are laughing at this.
    The Trib is throwing a bucket of leaves against the glass exterior of the Times' building.
    Are they going to adjust the deadlines? Or will we get more of this: a St. Pete Tribune 1A that says the Rays are in the 8th inning ... next to the Times shouting they clinched the wildest wildcard race in baseball history?
  3. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Yeah, this pretty much looks like a waste of a replate to me.
  4. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    I don't think that's really the point. I see it as more of a promotional tool -- a billboard, of sorts -- to drive a new audience to TBO.com for news. ("Hey! We cover Pinellas news!") And if they happen to pick up a few thousand print subscribers based on the difference in editorial philosophies, it's gravy. The story practically says as much on both counts.

    No, it probably won't make much difference over the long haul as far as the newspaper battle goes, but at least they're doing *something* for the first time in years and not going down without a fight in print. Even so, it's pretty obvious the next theater of war is online. Accordingly, it's not a bad move.

    And if it helps the Tribune's talented but overworked journalists find some swagger, that's a good thing, too.
  5. 1HPGrad

    1HPGrad Member

    RH, I was referring to your original post, which didn't mention online but did address the hope that this will lead to more circ without more cost. That ain't happening.
    Print or online, you have to have something worth promoting.
    You would think that somewhere on the Trib's homepage today you'd see a copy of this new masthead, right? A photo of today's front page. Something. I couldn't find it. What I did find was a lame AP photo of the St. Pete waterfront as the lead image on that story. (And an advance photo on a major Pinellas event that the Times already has updated with live art of the winner.)
    We have friends on both staffs. I wish it were a fairer fight. We had some good battles back in the day.
  6. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    I don't think it was promoted very well, either in advance or in today's efforts. Obviously, they've still got some work to do.

    That said, I disagree that this move won't grow circulation. With the understanding that it doesn't *have* to grow circulation to make sense -- it only has to be a daily reminder that the Tribune is active in the Pinellas County marketplace -- it will almost certainly gain a few thousand copies a day from readers who feel hurt by the Times' perceived "abandonment" of St. Petersburg when it changed names and/or readers who prefer the Trib's editorial voice.

    Maybe it picks up 7,000 to 10,000 copies a day, maybe less, maybe more. Whatever readership it gains is pure revenue if the expenses are managed well.

    Obviously, if the print product were the end game, those figures wouldn't be enough to justify the effort, but circulation isn't the goal here. It's just a nice, calculated bonus. It's more about the next phase of the competition -- online. This new product is merely promotion, keeping the Tribune in the game for the years to come.

    Whether the Tribune has enough resources to compete effectively online is a different thread entirely. I suspect there's a calculated gamble on the Tribune's part that the kind of deeply researched journalism that the Times does so well won't be valued online in the future. But, again, that's a different topic.

    Look at this new product as a move in a bigger chess match. This move is just a gambit, a useful tool. Depending how effectively they use it, I'll even go so far as to say a smart move. Ultimately, it's a no-lose proposition, really. Even if the Tribune sells zero extra copies a day in Pinellas County, the only thing it loses is the $12 it costs to replate 1A daily for the papers it sends there already.
  7. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Are they actually adding staff and covering more stuff? Or basically just slapping a new label on their current product?

    One place I worked did that. Put out a different nameplate for the next town down the road and got the copy desk to flip-flop a couple of stories for the "B edition". I told management at the time "If you want to do this, fine, but you're fooling no one." Said experiment didn't last very long.
  8. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    They've hired a small handful of journalists ... the way I hear it, they were vacant positions that were assigned to the expansion effort, so technically there were no staff additions. If the whole thing goes bust, I suspect they'd be reassigned to the mothership.

    Those in the know are invited to correct me, if I've heard wrong.
  9. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Looks like the deadlines will be adjusted when needed. I was stunned to see the BCS title game in the St. Pete edition this morning. Also were several very positive letters to the editor from folks who are tired of the Times' political leanings, though I'm sure they'll have the same complaints about the Tribune soon enough. And it looks like there will be several Pinellas stories mixed in. Seems like a good step, considering there was a brief time I couldn't even get the Tribune delivered in Pinellas County a couple of years ago.
  10. 1HPGrad

    1HPGrad Member

    Trib had an AP gamer and no columnist, correct? In other words, about what you'd expect from Bradenton.
    St. Pete had staff stories all week, plus Shelton.
    And, I knew they would because I know people who work there, but the Times was laughing pretty hard at the Trib coming out of the gate with a 1A story about St. Pete's thriving downtown bar scene, playing it like it's something that developed in the past month.
  11. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    True. Many papers have not been sending writers/columnists to big events like they used to. Times still has the resources apparently and views itself as a national paper, while the Tribune focuses on the local teams as much as possible. As for the bar story, I don't think I read it, but considering the edition just launched, it's not like it's a story that could have been written 6 months ago. I read a column on how Tampa is hoping (as it has for many years) to build a vibrant downtown nightlife, using St. Pete among others as a model. Not sure if this was the peg or the reason for that story or not.
  12. 1HPGrad

    1HPGrad Member

    Not much has changed. Florida and FGCU had the crazy late tip off.
    Tampa Bay Times had full coverage in the St. Pete edition. The St. Petersburg Tribune had a tease to online.
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