Time was this blog would find some hathos in reading about another round of job or pay cuts at the Tampa Bay Times.
But the reporters at the Tampa Bay Times do not deserve what is happening to them.
According to Benjamin Mullin of the Poynter Institute, the newspaper will trim headcount back to the same staffing levels it had in 2015.
Mullen had first access to a memo from Times CEO Paul Tash, who also is the chairman of the Poynter Institute. In the memo, Tash writes the Tampa Bay Times newsroom will “return to the same overall levels we had in 2015 — before we bought The Tribune (without The Tribune purchase, the cuts would have gone much deeper).”
It’s impossible to verify whether the cuts would have been deeper had the Times not purchased the Tribune, but its clear that the Tribune was a bigger lemon than the Times realized, so much so that it’s fair to ask whether the Times could have just let the Tribune go belly up.
Part of the problem, as our #HireATribber pick-up Tom Jackson wrote on Facebook, is that many “former Tribune readers are furious about the demise of their newspaper, and have refused the survivor, which they hold at least partly accountable.”
What’s really sad about the latest round of job cuts at the Times — and why I find no joy in them — is that they are coming after a year in which the newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes, including one for coverage of failing schools in Pinellas County.
To me, this reminds me of a great sports team holding a fire sale of its players after winning the World Series (I’m looking at you, Florida Marlins.) If eliminating your rival and putting out a news product that wins two Pulitzer Prizes isn’t enough to stave off job cuts, I’m not sure there is a bottom to the Times’ financial issues.