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5 things I think I think about today’s St. Petersburg Times

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by

I missed yesterday, so today is a bit of a blend of commentary on the last two day’s editions.

The biggest news, although it’s not surprising, concerns the Times itself: Neil Brown being named Executive Editor.  I just love the way this story was handled by the Times, as if, ho-hum, we’re just naming another staff position, there’s nothing to see here.  In a town this size (thank you John Prine), and in a community as heavily influenced by the hometown newspaper as St. Petersburg is by the Times, the naming of the Executive Editor is as important, if not more so, than the election of a member of City Council.

Naming Brown Executive Editor is a smart move for Paul Tash,who I don’t know how he balances the role of publisher and editor of a major newspaper.  Take, one very small example: Tash’s involvement with the host committee for the 2012 Republican National Convention.  As a publisher, Tash has to love the fact the elephants are coming to town.  In fact, it’s his job to make the GOP feel welcome.  But as the buck-stops-here editor of the newspaper, he is expected to remain objective.  So how could Tash perform both duties.  Ethically, I don’t think he could.  And I am sure there were a dozen situations like this for Tash.  So naming Brown exec-ed solves a lot of problems for Tash.


However, I did hear a little rumbling from within the black community that a deal had been struck long ago to name an African-American to this position.  That the newspaper was suppose to be grooming someone for the job.  Same rumblings are upset because there is no one of color on the Times’ editorial board.  Just rumblings is all.


Here’s the problem with the story about an investment group forming to seek Tampa land for a new Rays stadium: there are going to be so many false-starts from this investment group or that investment group about wanting to move the Rays here, there or anywhere, that, while the stories must be reported, they each must also be taken with a grain of salt.

Check out this segue, speaking of food…

Surprise! Laura Reiley writes another review that ends with the restaurant being awarded…wait for it…two and a half stars, which is what Reiley awarded the restaurant she reviewed in Wednesday’s paper.  And in last Thursday’s review.  Hold on, there’s a two star review here, but don’t worry, the parade of two and a half stars review begins again here, here and here. Another two star review here is balanced out by a three star review here, averaging out to, you guessed it, two and a half stars.  In fact, if you average out the stars awarded by Reiley this year, you’ll be shocked to learn that her average review is…two and a half stars.  Reiley needs to go on sabbatical and figure out a new grading system.

By the way, Mr. Times Online Editor, the food reviews are even more difficult to find now that the newspaper has launched its Things To Do program.  The Times just does not “get” online.  Cannot wait for ESPN to come in here and teach them how to run a hyper-local sports site.

Finally, and this is serious — serious enough that I will devote more time to the issue in a separate post — why did the Times, two years ago, pay so much attention to a rape case which occurred on Central Avenue near Sixth Street, yet has paid little attention to a murder which occurred in  basically the same spot? Oh, that’s right, the victim in the rape case was a white girl, while The Departed in the murder case was a black kid.

It’s dichotomies like this that make it important who is the Executive Editor of the newspaper and whether there are enough faces of color in leadership positions at the newspaper.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.

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