Emily Nipps, the Tampa Bay Times reporter who created the “We Are Journalists” Tumblr, is leaving the paper to be a spokesperson for Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Fla.
It’s a surprising turn of events for the founder of a Web property where journalists could write this about themselves: ”I pray my words make a difference. I live and breathe this ethereal thing called truth.”
“I feel like I’m betraying everybody,” Nipps says by phone. She really enjoys her work at the Poynter-owned paper, but wage cuts and pay freezes have taken their toll: “I feel like I’m broke,” she says. “I’m going to be 35 this year. These are my earning years, and I feel like I can’t get ahead.”
Nipps decided to start exploring the job market in February; when she sent a letter expressing interest in the Bayfront job, she got a reply in two hours, she says. After interviewing, she says, “It opened my mind up to maybe I could do this.” She was offered the job Wednesday, had lots of conversations with Times brass the next day (“they did try to counteroffer,” she says), and decided to go for it on Friday.
Nipps studied journalism at the University of South Florida, interned at the Colorado Springs Gazette, and worked for the Tampa Tribune before joining what was then the St. Petersburg Times in 2001. She’s currently on the paper’s NOW desk, a high-metabolism Web-focused venture.
“I’ve been really happy,” Nipps says. “The only thing I wasn’t really happy with was the money, and I always thought that wasn’t important.” She bought a house last year, though, and as her friends’ earnings surpassed hers, the feeling that she had “the coolest job in the world” crumbled. “I want to be able to buy groceries and fix the brakes on my car and not think about money as much,” she says.
She’s well aware of how odd this looks in terms of the blog, which she says she started “as sort of a venting tool.” As people posted to it, she says, she just watched it take on a life of its own.
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