Pointing to declining advertising sales and pandemic-related strains, the Tampa Bay Times announced it would be closing its St. Petersburg production center after 61 years of operation and hand over printing responsibilities to Gannett’s plant in Lakeland.
In a statement sent Wednesday afternoon, the paper says the move will result in the loss of 150 jobs, and staffers who remain will take a temporary 10% pay cut for up to six months. Chairman and CEO Paul will take a 20% pay cut.
A spokesperson for the Times confirmed to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that no newsroom jobs are included in the job eliminations announced today, and that "all full-time newsroom employees along with all remaining members of the staff will take a temporary 10 percent pay cut."
“This is a hard decision, but it helps position the Times for the future as a vibrant news company in a media landscape that is increasingly digital,” Tash said in a statement sent to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay Times and TBT weekly will now print from the same location as local Gannett-owned papers, as well as Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Sentinel, New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
Last April, after other budget cuts and layoffs were announced, the paper went from printing seven days a week to just Sundays and Wednesdays. The paper says it will now feature a slightly smaller page size, says the statement, and will continue to lean on its digital products, like its e-Newspaper.
“Thousands of readers, even some who were leery of it, have discovered the advantages of the e-Newspaper,” Tash continued. “It seems unlikely that we will return to printing the paper seven days a week, but our commitment to news has increased. We are relying on electronic delivery, and we can give our readers more news.”
The Times says it will attempt to sell the St. Petersburg printing facility to help pay off debt and contribute to its pension fund.
UPDATED: 01/06/20 2:45 p.m. Updated with comments from Times spokesperson Sherri Day.
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