Well, people in the hood had an interesting and educational discussion going on our email list about the Tribune cutting the Central Tampa section of the paper. Actually some were mad as hell about it.
"If you have noticed, the Central Tampa Section of the paper is no longer a supplement. Now we are forced to read about the "problems" of South Tampa. South Tampa has it's own weekly magazine in the Trib, as well as the supplement. We, have nothing. Of course, we can read letters to the editor from people who have never seen a transvestite prostitute, who condemn us for our aggressivestance against such activity in our neighborhood. What hypocrisy! What would the residents of south Tampa and Lutz do if their main thoroughfare was populated by transvestite prostitutes. Would they treat them as misunderstood "Human Beings"? Perhaps they could build some type of shelter for them.I have already sent an e mail to the Trib expressing my feelings. Essentially, I told them that I read their paper not for the national news , which is better reported in the St. Pete Times, but to be informed of local issues. I want new about Seminole Heights, Ybor, Tampa Heights, Downtown, Channelside etc. Is the paper just getting lazy? If the Trib cannot provide the new that I feel affects me , I may as well cancel my subscription. We could use our own newspaper. Temple Terrace has one..so does Brandon."
After all the comments flew back and forth on our email list we see that today the Weekly Planet did a story on the issue today by former Tribune reporter, Wayne Garcia.
"Almost inevitably when you see a media announcement about newspaper layoffs, or pulling coverage out of a community, or downsizing or disappearing news sections, it is accompanied by the rationale that it is "to better serve our readers."
Well, both daily newspapers in Tampa Bay are in the process of better serving their readers.
As a cost-cutting measure, The Tampa Tribune has ceased publishing weekly sections for Pinellas County and Central Tampa"
Why is this being done?
"Newsprint costs are expected to rise again next year, and advertising revenues are generally flat nationally, prompting some major newspapers - including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Chicago Tribune - to eliminate positions and solicit early retirements.
But Weaver said the Trib's section closings will not require eliminating any staff. The change, she explained, will allow reporters in those bureaus to focus on writing daily, full-run stories of greater importance and enterprise."
Another comment on the email list was
"Most newspapers are run by corporations that want to squeeze a buck out of any place they can. About a decade ago the Trib had layoffs, not because they were losing money -- which I could understand -- but because the profit margin was "only" 12 percent and they wanted it to be something like 18 percent."
This is reflected in an article in the LA Times (that was sent out on our email list)
Another comment was
"The answer is probably some new paradigm: perhaps smaller, locally owned companies who can live with smaller, yet decent, operating margins. One thing we know: local news reports, in some form, will
always exist because of people's curiousity and need to connect with their communities."
"I can accept that the Trib may have financial problems and perhaps the deletion of the Central Tampa section was needed. However, in an effort to be inclusive they could call the supplement City Local or Neighborhood News. I do not feel the "love" when I see "South Tampa" edition. I know I am being picky. Things may change for our area and the Trib's interest in it when Ybor, Channelside, and Downtown become more populated."
This raises the question then, what should the Trib call its south Tampa section to be more inclusive? As noted above or, Southern Tampa Section, SOB (South of Busch), The Local Edition, or a name from the past, The Tampa Times. Any Ideas?
Here are some comparisons of the 2 Tampa Bay papers. (from the Media Info Center)
Top 50 Newspapers by Circulation, 2004
Rank Newspaper Daily circ % chg Sunday circ % chg
21 St. Petersburg Times (b) 311,680 -0.9 395,973 -0.4
43 Tampa Tribune (b) 214,269 1.9 293,090 2.7