Tampa Bay Times

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Perspective: Keep the faith and believe in newspapers

This essay is adapted from a speech by Tampa Bay Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash to the Metro Production Conference, a consortium representing 76 newspapers and their suppliers from five countries. The essay originally appeared in the Tampa Bay Times and is being republished with permission. 

Today being a Sunday, I offer my own confession of faith.

I believe in newspapers.

And by newspapers, I mean particularly those physical objects produced in huge quantity through some nearly magical process in the middle of the night and delivered before daybreak to millions of American homes and businesses where they are eagerly received.

I take nothing away from our websites, or our new apps for smartphones, or our electronic newsletters, or the videos we produce, or from the social media that connects people far and wide with the good work we are doing.

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Pension agency puts liens on property owned by Tampa Bay Times parent company

Tampa Bay Times

The Tampa Bay Times announced Monday that a federal pension agency has placed multi-million dollar liens on property owned by Times Publishing Company, the parent company of that newspaper. The liens also affect property owned by Poynter, which owns the Times Publishing Company.

The liens, which amount to more than $30 million, were placed on the organizations by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp, a federal agency created to ensure the viability of benefit plans, reports Times senior correspondent Susan Taylor Martin. Collectively, they constitute “the difference between the pension plan’s current assets and the calculation of all future benefits,” she writes.

Jana Jones, the vice president and CFO of Times Publishing Company, is quoted by Martin as saying the liens figure into the company’s strategy to defer contributions to its pension plans:

As we have previously acknowledged, the Times received approval to delay some of its contributions to the pension plan during the economic recession and recovery,” said Jana Jones, vice president and CFO of Times Publishing, which publishes the Tampa Bay Times.

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When deciding to run an open-casket photo, picture editors matter

As news organizations debated their lead image options yesterday during the first of a two-day public viewing for slain Senator and pastor Clementa C. Pinckney, a key voice was silent in many newsrooms: The picture editor.

Given the magnitude of this story and the historical significance, many publications and news sites presented the open casket public viewing prominently.

This is one of the powerful images of the funeral that several newspapers chose to feature prominently. (Getty Images)

This is one of the powerful images of the funeral that several newspapers chose to feature prominently. (Getty Images)

Sadly, many news organizations have eliminated or consolidated the role of picture editors and worse yet, lots of online companies never think to integrate the role of visual advocates.

In this era of fierce competition for web traffic and single copy sales — visuals are key.

The sensitive and impactful decisions involving visual presentation have never been more demanding for media companies. Read more

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The Tampa Bay Times should have alerted authorities earlier

A police device rolls toward a copter device, right, that landed on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

A police device rolls toward a copter device, right, that landed on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

The Tampa Bay Times was wrong.

That is my reluctant conclusion after reading the story “Ruskin flier eludes Capitol air security.”  The story, well known by now, concerns Doug Hughes, an eccentric postal worker who committed an act of civil disobedience by flying a “gyrocopter” onto the West Lawn of the nation’s Capitol.

As I studied the coverage last night and today, I imagined a different headline:  “Times coverage shows unsteady man committing dangerous act.”

Ben Montgomery, a reporter I admire, wrote the story.  I saw him on the Today Show arguing in a brief sound bite that it was not his job to blow the whistle on a stunt like this one, in which Hughes planned to deliver letters to each member of Congress complaining about the evil influence of money on American politics. Read more

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Career Beat: Lisa Arbetter named editor of StyleWatch

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Lisa Arbetter will be editor of StyleWatch. Previously, she was deputy editor of InStyle. (Time Inc.)
  • Jill Geisler has been named Loyola University’s Bill Plante Chair of Leadership and Media Integrity. She was a faculty member at Poynter for 16 years. (Poynter)
  • Anna Dickson will be deputy director of photography at The Wall Street Journal. Previously, she was photography director at The Huffington Post. (Mediabistro)
  • Eliot Pierce is now chief product officer at The New Republic. Previously, he was a consultant. (Poynter)

Job of the day: The Tampa Bay Times is looking for a general assignment reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more

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Career Beat: The Economist gets 2 deputy editors

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Tom Standage is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was digital editor there. Edward Carr is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was foreign editor there. (@tomstandage)
  • Ross Gagnon is now insights director at Forbes. Previously, he was a senior quantitative analyst for J.D. Power and Associates. (Email)
  • John Judis will be a senior writer at National Journal. Previously, he was a senior editor at The New Republic. (Email)
  • Brendan Banaszak is now director of collaborative news strategy at NPR. Previously, he was a producer there. Lynette Clemetson is now senior director of strategy and content initiatives at NPR. Previously, she was director of editorial initiatives there. John Stefany will be director of strategic projects at NPR.
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Tampa Bay Times offices will go on sale

Tampa Bay Times

Times Publishing Co. is putting the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times up for sale, Katherine Snow Smith reports for the Tampa Bay Times.

The proceeds from selling the eight-story offices, which consist of three buildings, will go toward paying down a $28 million debt owed to Boston-based finance company Crystal Financial, Times Publishing Co. Chairman Paul Tash tells The Times:

“The proceeds — combined with other pending transactions — will extinguish our debt to Crystal Financial in Boston,” Tash said. “Crystal has been an excellent financial partner, and that loan has given us time to restructure the company for the post-recession realities. Selling the building will close the chapter.”

Poynter owns the Tampa Bay Times.

In a memo addressed to Times employees, Tash explains that the building has become a liability as staff reductions have left the paper with unused space and unnecessary upkeep costs. Read more

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Career Beat: Joe Germuska named Knight Lab interim director

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Joe Germuska will be interim director at the Knight Lab. Previously, he was director of software engineering there. (Knight Lab)
  • Millie Tran is now a writer for BuzzFeed’s news apps team. Previously, she was editorial coordinator at the American Press Institute. (Email)
  • Noah Kotch is senior editor and director of video at The Washington Post. Previously, he was chief content officer at Vocativ. (Washington Post)
  • Suzette Moyer will be a senior designer at The Washington Post. Previously, she was creative director of Bay magazine at the Tampa Bay Times. Carey Jordan will be a designer at The Washington Post. Previously, she was art director at Washington City Paper. (Washington Post)
  • Josef Reyes will be creative director at Foreign Policy.
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Career Beat: Russell Contreras named president of UNITY

  • Russell Contreras will be president of UNITY. He is a reporter at The Associated Press (NAJA)
  • Sam Figler is now head of global business development at BuzzFeed. Previously, he was vice president of global business development at Yahoo. (Capital)
  • Wendy Carrillo is now an anchor and producer at Reported.ly. Previously, she was a writer and digital producer for NuvoTV. (MediaMoves)
  • Will Hobson will be a sports news reporter at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a cops and courts reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. (Washington Post)
  • Ryan O’Hara will be CEO of Move, Inc. Previously, he was president at the Madison Square Garden Company. (News Corp)
  • Katy McColl is now senior executive editor at Southern Living.
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Career Beat: David Beard named executive editor of PRI

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • David Beard is now executive editor of PRI. Previously, he was digital content director for The Washington Post. (PRI)
  • Nina Lawrence is now publisher of InStyle. Previously, she was vice president of global marketing and advertising sales for The Wall Street Journal. (Time Inc.)
  • Bill Duryea will be an enterprise editor at Politico. He is enterprise editor at the Tampa Bay Times. Michael Kruse will be a senior staff writer at Politico. He’s a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times. (Poynter)
  • Rodrigo Arana is now a sports anchor for Noticiero Telemundo Chicago. Previously, he was a reporter for Fox Sports Latin America. (MediaMoves)

Job of the Day: The Santa Clarita Valley Signal is looking for a sports journalist. Read more

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