Here are five things I think I think about today’s political coverage in the Tampa Bay Times.
1. Kudos to the Times for acknowledging 10 News reporter Noah Pransky’s receiving of a George Polk Award. Pransky won the prestigious journalism award for an investigation last year that revealed how state and local officials had cost Florida drivers millions of dollars in extra fines by reducing yellow-light times. It’s rare that the Times gives other local news organizations credit where credit is due — if a Tampa Tribune reporter had won this award there likely would have been no mention of it in the Times — so the newspaper even mentioning Pransky’s award is a big deal.
2. There’s a very informative round-up of political odds-and-ends in the St. Pete Times, including a note about Terri Lipsey Scott likely leaving her job with the City of St. Pete. This round-up has been increasingly worthwhile since Kameel Stanley started pitching-in.
3. The round-up of statewide political news, on the other hand, is a snoozer, especially Adam Smith’s choice for the Loser of the Week in Florida Politics. Smith writes, “We can only imagine how much it grates on the former governor that virtually every time Charlie Crist appears on TV, he talks about how his former party has lost his way by quoting Bush.” Charlie Crist quoting Jeb Bush makes Bush the Loser of the Week? Huh? Another weird pick from Smith, who lately seems to purposefully make oddball choices for this feature.
4. I wish there was more meat on the bones of Anna Phillips’ piece on the difficulty of selling the transit tax initiative known as Greenlight Yes will be to North Pinellas voters. For example, Phillips quotes Ronnie Duncan, one of the advocacy campaign’s leaders as saying, “The north county voters are probably our greatest challenge.” But there’s no follow-up as to why Duncan thinks that. It takes Democratic state Rep. Carl Zimmerman to get to the heart of the matter several paragraphs later, “There’s not enough in it for north county.” There’s no polling data mentioned in Phillips’ story or analysis from any of the political consultants in the area who could’ve explained the difficulty of campaigning in North Pinellas.
5. Consider this: In the entire Perspective section, there is not one original column from a Tampa Bay Times reporter or writer (besides the unsigned editorials). Yes, there’s a piece from former Times’ editorial writer Diane Robers, but that doesn’t count. Of course, there is a quarter page ad for the PolitiFact app.