5 things I think I think about today's St. Pete Times

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Just catching up on a collection of rather random thoughts about recent stories in the St. Petersburg Times…

Yes, Monday’s front-page with “DEAD” screaming across the top of the newspaper was a keeper, but with all of the information available online and with so much of that information changing by the hour, the newspaper never felt less relevant to a major story than Monday’s coverage of the killing of Osama bin Laden. There was not one (!) single bit of information in their coverage which was not readily available at a hundred other outlets, long before it was in print.

That said, Eric Deggans’ meta-coverage of the media reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden is as insightful as any opinion you can find in the world of journalism. I genuinely believe Times’ readers don’t know how lucky we are to have Deggans writing at the Times. If he were at the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, he’d probably be regarded as one of the country’s most important pundits — his writing is just that important. That’s why you see Eric constantly being asked to opine for national outlets, be it print, TV or radio. To use a metaphor from sports, Deggans is a lot like Carl Crawford, a local jewel who is/will be coveted by the large market teams, like the Red Sox or the Yankees.

Of course, the Times isn’t doing too bad.

Continuing to grow readers and subscribers, theSt. Petersburg Times has extended its first place lead among Florida newspapers.

TheTimes is the only Florida newspaper ranked among the country? top 25 newspapers; it is the 13th largest on Sunday and the 18th largest daily.

I’d argue that being first in the newspaper business is a lot like how it must have felt to be first in the horse-and-buggy business a century ago.

Not that the Times would ever write anything negative about itself. Notice how, in this article about the Republican National Convention coming to Tampa next year, there isn’t a single mention about Times publisher Paul Tash being on the official host committee. That fact should have been disclosed.

But I’ll forgive Adam Smith thatomission, only because he showed a lot of class, naming Dave Bitner, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, the Political Winner of the Week, for his courage in the face of this challenge.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.