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Tallahassee Democrat turns “Republican” for a day

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As an April Fools’ Day prank, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper renamed itself the “Tallahassee Republican” on Friday.

“It’s a one-day special and our little April Fools’ joke — designed to acknowledge those who supposedly wince at our name,” wrote retired columnist Gerald V. Ensley Jr.

Ensley explains that the newspaper, which has had “Democrat” in its name since its beginnings in 1905, isn’t “a tool of the Democratic Party” and anybody who still thinks that “doesn’t read this newspaper or know our history.”

(Indeed, the paper runs a regular column by Extensive Enterprises Media publisher Peter Schorsch, not known to be a Democrat himself.)

“We’re proud of our name,” writes Ensley, who retired last year after 35 years with the paper.

“It was given to us by our founder, John G. Collins, who announced in the first edition of the Weekly True Democrat on March 3, 1905, that this newspaper would ‘endeavor to preach and practice the undying principles, and to follow the true and tried doctrines of the ‘Old Time Democracy’ of the Fathers … the ancient and time-honored body of established Democratic principles,” he said.


Disclosure: Jim Rosica was a staff writer at the Democrat 1997-2005 and his desk was next to Ensley, who referred to him as “Jimmy the R,” for most of that time.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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