St. Petersburg Times to be renamed the Tampa Bay Times

TampaBay.com
Five years after settling a court case with the Tampa Tribune, the Poynter-owned St. Petersburg Times will become the Tampa Bay Times, a name that signals “the growth of our newspaper and our vision for this region,” says Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, who also serves as chairman of the Poynter Institute.

The Times began using the name Tampa Bay Times in 2004, for what was then its free weekly tabloid, called tbt*. When the tabloid became daily, the Tribune sued, saying the name infringed on “its trademark for the Tampa Times, an afternoon newspaper that ceased publication in 1982.” The November 1 settlement in 2006 allowed the St. Pete Times restricted use of the name for five years and unlimited use thereafter.

The new name will appear on the masthead starting January 1 — the 100th anniversary of Pinellas County, where the paper is headquartered, though three-quarters of its readers live outside St. Petersburg, Tash said. The paper bought the naming rights to the St. Pete Times Forum (where the Lightning play) in 2002. It will become the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Reaction to the name change has been mixed.

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  • http://twitter.com/DoronPLevin Doron Levin

    Bad move.  Will alienate everyone in St. Petersburg.  Oh, and it won’t catch on.

  • Ty Axson

    I’m a bit disappointed. Maybe it’s nostalgia talking here, but I think the St. Pete Times has cemented its place as the number one paper in the Tampa Bay region due to the depth and integrity of its reporting. It’s name is as much apart of its legacy as the quality of it’s content. Sure it’s grown into more than just a city paper, but I’m not sure changing the name is the best way to reflect that. Why fix what isn’t broken?

  • Anonymous

    Shame on you Poynter Institute for promoting your own paper while you pretend to be stalwarts of honest and independent journalism.The Tampa Times name is clearly displayed on the Tampa Trib web site and the Times is even using the same font that the Tampa Times used for years. This isn’t about identity and coverage area, this is an ugly business practices of trying to pass yourself off as the competitor. What’s next, USAToday Times?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never seen a more calculated attempt to steal the identity and name of a competitor. The Tampa Times name is clearly displayed on the Tampa Trib web site and you’re even using the same font that the Tampa Times used for years. Shame on you Poynter Institute for promoting your own paper while you pretend to be stalwarts of honest and independent journalism.

  • Anonymous

    It’s like a punch to the colective stomach of St. Pete. What a loss.

  • http://twitter.com/FlaFan FlaFan

    It’s too bad that what’s been Florida’s best newspaper for years is watering down its identity by changing its name. And if it’s a way of confusing people who might buy the Tampa Tribune, it’s a juvenile way to do so.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Just a clarification: the Times isn’t a nonprofit. The Times is a for-profit company, part of Times Publishing. The controlling shares in Times Publishing are owned by a nonprofit (Poynter), which may be the source of the confusion. –Julie

  • Anonymous

    As a former Times employee I’m saddened by the news. It’s like changing the name of the San Francisco Chronicle to the Bay Area Chronicle. Or the New York Times to the Manhattan Times.

  • Anonymous

    As a former Times employee I’m saddened by the news. It’s like changing the name of the San Francisco Chronicle to the Bay Area Chronicle. Or the New York Times to the Manhattan Times.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JRQNWLXJJCQGPOJ4LIMGLZJVZY Sam

    Typical newspaper like the city it’s headquartered in, always trying to stir up the the controversy.  It’s a left wing rag anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, OK. For individual journalists, the brand is the most important thing in the history of things; however, for newspapers, the brand doesn’t matter at all. Glad we’ve got that all cleared up.

    By the way, I wonder how much it’ll cost to do the change and how many journalists’ jobs that could’ve saved? Seems like an awfully good question for an institution that cares about journalism to ask. 

  • Anonymous

    Weird to change a name that is synonymous with quality/excellence/honesty to one that is somehow evocative of — what, a sports team, maybe? Or an alt-weekly? I can’t imagine the business benefit, unless it has to do with charitable donations (the Times being nonprofit). I hope there are a bunch of rich Tampans who are about to die and will gladly leave their estates to the newspaper, if only it will change its name.

  • http://twitter.com/JosephFinn Joseph

    Too bad Tampa Bay does not exist as a city.  Same goes for the St. Petersburg Rays and the Tampa Buccaneers.  Unless the newsroom is out on the Bay, this is a silly name.

  • Anonymous

    1. If I lived in St. Pete, I’d be honked off.

    2. Surprised they’re staying with the same lettering for the name. Why not do a major overthrow and go stark raving modern?

  • Anonymous

    changing the name of a respected, even legendary newspaper is NOT in ANY WAY going to help it survive in the digital age or improve its business. so why f—ing do it? the  powers that be down there can make all the arguments they want, but it all boils down to a simple question: why fix something that ain’t broke?

    if that’s a good idea, then it would also be a good idea for the nytimes to change its name to the east coast times. after all, it is not as provincial as its name implies. its reach is far beyond just little old ny. and the la times should become the southern cal times to indicate that it covers much, much more than just one frigging city.

    are the people in st. pete really serious about this? surely not.

  • http://twitter.com/rwcarter66 rwcarter66

    I’m not privy to the situation in Tampa/St. Pete. But assuming it mirrors the rest of the industry, how much harm can this do? One commenter says this bears the “rancid” smell of Gannett. Is it not possible that the newspaper brands that to many of us are beloved and “iconic” give off an old and musty smell to younger generations of prospective readers? I believe many newspaper companies have damaged their futures by clinging too hard and too long to the past. Again, I’m not familiar with the specific situation there, but is it a mistake to perform radical, possibly rejuvenative surgery on a patient who’s stable on life support?

  • Anonymous

    This smells like Gannett. Which is to say rancid.

  • Anonymous

    This smells like Gannett. Which is to say “rancid.”

  • http://twitter.com/DigitalDionne Dionne N. Walker

    The St. P is iconic. I don’t think this is a good idea.

  • http://twitter.com/SaintPetersblog Peter Schorsch

    Complete. Absolute. B*llshit: St. Petersburg Times changing name to Tampa Bay Times http://t.co/UjurH54H 

  • http://facebook.com/sreetips sreenet

    Don’t know all the business and political considerations, but still sad to hear that one of the best regional news brands in America is no more.

    @sree:twitter