In latest cut, Tampa Bay Times lays off more newsroom staff

Last month, full-time staff got a temporary 10% pay cut.

UPDATED: 03/18/20 4:41 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Times newsroom took a big hit this morning, as 11 staff members were laid off. Times Executive Editor Mark Katches shared the news on Twitter late Tuesday night.

“Today was exhausting in many ways,” Tracey McManus, the Times’ kickass Scientology reporter added. “I am hurting deeply for my colleagues who were forced out of this job we love. I'm also frightened about what's to come. But we will continue this mission as long as we can.

The cuts at the Times include photojournalist Octavio Jones, Deputy Editor for Sports Mike Sherman, digital producer Daniel Figueroa IV24-year Times reporter Bob Putnam, and 21-year environmental reporter Craig Pittman. "It's been a great run," said Pittman on Twitter. "Watch this space for my next adventure."

Katches said the layoffs were not related to the economic impact of the coronavirus, though that "is too soon to tell," he added.  

“We all have seen how the financial challenges facing our industry have directly impacted us, our friends and our colleagues,” said Katches. “This has been yet another painful reminder, but we keep moving forward. Our readers and our community need us now more than ever.”

The cuts come less than a month after Times management told its full-time staff that it was getting a temporary 10% pay cut, which is supposed to end on June 5. In a memo regarding the pay reduction, Times executives, who took a 15% pay cut until June 5, warned that “additional reductions in staffing are likely. Last fall, the Times laid off seven journalists in October 2019. In October 2018, the Times cut 16 newsroom jobs. In April 2018, the paper eliminated 50 jobs company-wide due to a dip in ad revenue and new tariffs on newsprint.

The Times’ cuts came on the same day that Voice Media Group (VMG)—which owns several New-Times alt-weekly properties—announced that all employees’ base pay would be reduced by 25% in response to advertising dropoffs in the face of the coronavirus pandemic (VMG executives are taking a 35% pay cut, and anyone making more than $80,000 at the company is taking a 30% pay cut.)

News of the Times cuts also come on the same day that Creative Loafing Tampa Bay laid off seven staff members in response to coronavirus pandemic.

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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