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With its building for sale, Tampa Tribune now cutting staff pay

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

More evidence is emerging that the Tampa Tribune may still be looking at a grim financial future.

The paper confirmed on Friday they were entertaining the idea of selling the downtown Tampa waterfront property adjacent to WFLA, News Channel 8.

The price tag for that property overlooking the Hillsborough River and the downtown skyline is rumored to be between $16 million and $19 million.

According to the Tribune’s own report, any deal would require a buyer to purchase the property with a “leaseback” provision that would allow the paper to sell the property, but lease it from the new owner in order to continue occupying the space.

The deal is an opportunity for the paper to “free up cash.”

Along with that, Tampa Tribune employees are suffering another round of pay cuts.

While exact numbers and provisions have not been confirmed, SaintPetersblog has spoken with two veteran staffers who confirmed that some reporters are seeing their paychecks slashed 10 percent.

“Individual editors met with their reporters (as a result of) summer cash flow issues,” managing editor Ken Koehn confirmed to SaintPetersBlog.

Koehn said that he and other editors told staffers they would meet again at the end of summer to discuss reinstating the pay levels. Koehn said that the Tribune underwent similar belt-tighhtening in 2014 and that those cuts were later restored.

The news comes just about two and a half years after Revolution Capital purchased the paper and all its assets from Media General in 2012 for $9.5 million. Since then there have been several rounds of paycuts and voluntary buyouts.

After the sale, the new owners not only cut pay, they offered severance packages to those who applied and qualified. Since then there have also been increasing numbers of mandatory furlough days – basically unpaid days off – and some layoffs.

Just last year, the paper drastically slashed its St. Petersburg division and only a few reporters remain covering Pinellas County.

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.

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