In a strange bedfellows sort of partnership, The Tampa Bay Times announced Tuesday they will begin printing the Tampa Tribune, their rival paper.
As part of a five-year contract with Tampa Media Group, the Times will begin its transition toward printing the Tribune this month. That also includes the Tribune’s affiliate publications Centro, Highlands Today and The Suncoast News as well as its commercial printing partners, the New York Post and the MacDill Thunderbolt, which is printed weekly for MacDill Air Force Base.
“We take great pride in all of our printing work and look forward to providing our high standard of quality and excellence to the Tribune,” said Joe DeLuca, Times Tampa publisher and vice president.
The Tribune will maintain its own newspaper delivery service.
“We are excited for this opportunity in working with the Tampa Bay Times on the production side of our business,” said Tampa Tribune publisher Brian Burns. “Like many other markets, newspapers are combining services, such as production, to create efficiencies and savings that otherwise would be very tough to find.”
It may seem odd that the Tampa Bay Times would begin printing services for its main Tampa Bay competition, but both papers are becoming increasingly strapped for cash.
The Times in particular has been selling off its real estate bit by bit to pay off a high interest loan it took on just to stay afloat. The paper has been steadily increasing its commercial printing business to increase revenue over the past few years.
The Times recently added USA Today to its printing portfolio.
The Tribune faces its own financial woes. The paper has been trying to sell off it’s pristine headquarters near downtown Tampa on the Hillsborough River and has, over the past few years, gone through several rounds of layoffs and employee buyouts as well as dissolving its St. Petersburg Tribune.