5 things I think I think about today’s Tampa Bay Times and other media

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As someone whose livelihood partially depends on the sale of online ads, I can tell you it looks like the Times‘ online site has a healthy roster of local advertisers, seemingly more than just a few months ago.  Credit the name change?

Saw a local TV ad last night for the Tampa Bay Times and how it’s a ‘new name, but the same great newspaper’. Blah, blah, blah.  And that con job wasn’t the worst part of the spot.  No, the worst aspect of the commercial was the fact that it was shot at Parkshore Grill, as if Steve Westphal’s restaurant is the center of the Tampa Bay universe.  Newspaper name change + Steve Westphal = me throwing the remote at the screen.

It takes Sue Carlton getting to the third-to-last paragraph before she makes her point in this low-hanging-fruit column about Sen. Ronda Storms’ bill to prevent food stamps from being used in Florida for “nonstaple, unhealthy foods.” Isn’t there someone in the Times’ building who can mug Carlton for space in the newspaper.  Her work is just sooooo obvious.

“Even in grocery stores, as I’m going along, it’s like, ‘When is the renewal coming up?’ ” said board member Carol Cook about a voter referendum to renew a $30 million tax increase for Pinellas schools, in a story written by Ron Matus.

Sure, that’s what Pinellas residents, beset by a depressed economy and falling home values, are worried about…when can they have a $30 million tax renewed.  Matus should have called baloney on that claim.

Thank you to Richard Danielson for profiling my friend Jonny Torres about his his hiring by the Republican National Convention. “Consider it a sign of the times: The Republican National Convention recently filled a job – director of digital integration – that didn’t exist four years ago.”

I wonder just how many political reporters will lean on some sort of sports metaphor in their stories about Rick Santorum’s wins on Tuesday night in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.  Will they use “hat-trick” or “trifecta?” Or, as the Times Alex Leary describes Santorum’s performance, a “three pointer.”

I thought it sounded too good to be true when a federal report showed Florida starting to win the fight against prescription painkiller abuse. A story from Tia Mitchell and Jamal Thalji, which relies heavily on perspective offered by Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, says local law enforcement isn’t seeing any changes.

The sheriff said his measuring stick is the price of one illegally obtained tablet of oxycodone. It’s $17 in his jurisdiction — and has been for the past eight to 10 months. That’s compared with the $1 someone with a legitimate prescription would pay for one pill, according to Gualtieri.

Are you reading (yet!) 10 News’ Noah Pransky’s blog Shadow of the Stadium? He’s covering the issue of what should the Rays do about a new stadium better than anything you’ll read in the newspaper.

Michael Calderone dissects coverage from the campaign trail, finding a lot of fat and gristle. Though reporters love being able to keep up with every tit-for-tat on Twitter, some are concerned that it means they’re missing the big picture.

Josh Halliday reports that British broadcaster Sky News has issued extremely restrictive new social media guidelines, “including a contentious ban on retweeting rival ‘journalists or people on Twitter.’ “ An email to staff warned that “such information could be wrong and has not been through the Sky News editorial process.” It also told journalists to tweet only about stories “to which you have been assigned or a beat which you work.” Some Twitter users are criticizing the policy by using the hashtag #savefieldproducer, a nod to Sky News digital editor Neal Mann, who tweets as @fieldproducer. Presumably no Sky News journalists will be retweeting the criticism. Via Jeff Soderman.

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.