Can the Tampa Bay Times and the Tampa Tribune learn something from Time Magazine?

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Yesterday’s panel on ‘new vs traditional media‘ — or ‘me versus everyone else’ as Creative Loafing framed it — has me thinking about new things, in so many new directions.  Even though I was on the panel, I guess I benefited as much as anyone from the discussion.

One of ideas I’ve been thinking about since yesterday is how the Tampa Bay Times and the Tampa Tribune and other traditional media outlets could take a page from TIME Magazine, which won the National Magazine Award for Magazine of the Year, the industry’s biggest award, which is given out by the American Society of Magazine Editors.

“In some ways, the award is a misnomer, for it honors the title that excels in both print and digital,” explains TIME’s managing editor Richard Stengel.

“More than 50 million … interact with Time every week on all our platforms in all our editions around the globe,” continues Stengel. … “We are evolving the look and scope of Time.com, refining our iPad app and working with Tumblr, Instagram, Foursquare, Google+ and Pinterest to reach you where you are. And, of course, we are strengthening our presence on Facebook and Twitter, where our @Time feed has 3.46 million followers.”

Now, TIME is a national publication, not a daily, local newspaper, so comparing the Times or the Trib to it is, while not apples and oranges, like grapefruit and oranges.

But are the Times and Tribune embracing technology with as much energy and enthusiasm as is TIME? Are the managing editors of the newspapers “working with Tumblr, Instagram, Foursquare, Google+ and Pinterest” to reach their readers?

I’m not so sure that they are.  In fact, if anything, too many of their editors and reporters seem to be resistant to utilizing these new technologies.  Those who do are the exceptions that prove the rule.

If I were a bureau chief or an editor of import at one of the newspapers, I would require each of my reporters to demonstrate proficiency, if not mastery, of at least one social media technology.  They could blog or Facebook or Tweet, but they have to do something beyond just writing.

And I’d probably tell to go pick up a copy of the latest edition of TIME (especially this week’s).  They’re doing something right over there.

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.