When we first reported that the Tampa Bay Times planned another round of layoffs and pay cuts, no one could have imagined all of that would lead to this.
On Wednesday, Pulitzer Prize winner Will Hobson announced on Twitter that he was leaving the Times. Hobson’s departure comes on the heels of reporter Michael Kruse’s and editor Bill Duryea’s move to POLITICO.
It’s one thing to lose veteran (even iconic) players like Jeff Klinkenberg and Gary Shelton; it’s another matter altogether to lose the future stars of the franchise, like Hobson and Kruse.
At this point, the Tampa Bay Times has been decimated.
The word decimation is derived from Latin meaning “removal of a tenth” and refers to a form of military discipline used by senior commanders in the Roman Army to punish units or large groups guilty of capital offenses such as mutiny or desertion. While there hasn’t been a mutiny at the Times, there certainly has been a desertion.
Obviously, several Times staffers took Tash at his word when he made clear the dire nature of the company’s future: “If you are uncertain about your standing with the Times, this is a good time for a frank conversation with your supervisor. If this long, difficult stretch has tested your commitment to the Times or the newspaper business, this is a good time to consider your options.”
Yet, other than that internal memorandum, Tash remains disturbingly oblivious about the changes at the newspaper. In a recent profile for the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Tash shoveled out the propaganda thicker than Baghdad Bod.
“We’ve taken some strong measures this year and put us on a sturdy and strong footing as this year ends and next year starts,” Tash said.
Losing Hobson and Kruse and Klinkenberg and Shelton and so many others is considered a strong measure? C’mon, Paul.
Here’s the issue with Tash’s comments: Were the Times any other company in the Tampa Bay market, the newspaper would be covering the changes taking place at said company. Were any other prominent Tampa Bay company losing its star employees like the Times has lost its star employees, the newspaper would be covering those exits.
Yet Tash is less forthcoming than a papal conclave.
Material from Wikipedia was used in this post.