Is the current goal of the Tampa Bay Times to simply one-up Creative Loafing and not to actually be a news organization that reports on the Tampa Bay metro area the state of Florida, and the United States? Maybe the print version is more news-traditiona., but the online site and its top-story headlines (on TampaBay.com or TBO.com) are anything but.
Wednesday, July 18th screenshots of the two news portals give you a glance at just what is taking priority:
Call me biased, call me small-minded perhaps, but with so much happening in the world, so many items of substance that affect people, so many events of negative and positive in the day to day life within the Tampa Bay metro region, how the living hell is a sales item at Publix a priority for reporting?? Since when is an amateur food tour relevant on a mid-week day in the region?
I hate to bring him up, but the President’s oft-used descriptive phrase is most fitting here: Fake news. What is being prioritized hee is closer to a distractive measure than actual relevant information.
While I cited Creative Loafing earlier in this piece, I’m not trying to fault the organization that offers a free weekly print paper. It’s casual, it’s leisurely. That’s what it has always been there for and built up its reputation through. The Tampa Bay Times originally sought to counter it with tbt*. To do it with the main page headlines and top stories on two news portals though? To brush off informing local citizens about events, incidents and politics in the region, state and the world around them? Instead to put priority on day-to-day personal life and casual antics? That’s a huge, huge step down from the respectable news organization the Times used to be.
The site known as Tampa Bay Online – www.tbo.com – has been around for decades. TBO was once tied to both Tampa Bay NBC affiliate WFLA News Channel 8 and former print publication The Tampa Tribune (both media entities were owned by Media General). Let me stress that with the decades aspect of Tampa Bay Online as TBO started out in the early 1990’s in a form that was accessible through the Prodigy dial-up network and America Online. It’s sort of hard to explain things before the internet as you know it now – some people were exposed to it well before the general public. I was introduced to the Net through Prodigy and later AOL.
Back to the topic, TBO has been around a while as a media hub (to say the least). With the Tribune leading the charge so often, the flavor of news and writing from the Trib (with its right-leaning slant) was always on display but its general news coverage was complimented by video coverage of news stories that News Channel 8 reported on.
Yet a downfall has been rampant for a while: Media General sold the Tribune in 2012, and while the new ownership vowed they were here to stay, it didn’t play out like that. I’m not sure if there was an official end-partnership between the Trib and WFLA but things scaled back and ceased after the Tribune moved away to its own property. In the spring of 2016 the Tampa Tribune was acquired by print news rival, the Tampa Bay Times. The Tribune ceased to be while certain columnists, reporters and employees were imported to Times staff while others were dismissed. TBO.com has continued operations since then but has become a quizzical online destination for news information in the area. Continue reading
For the umpteen-hundreth time, the Tampa Tribune / WFLA / TBO mothership is trying to cut corners and cut costs in order to boost the stock price of Mother Corporate.
So, Media General, here is my suggestion to you: Sell the Tribune, sell WFLA, sell TBO.
The Tribune has been butchered for decades now – decades – because Mother Corporate wants to boost stock price and cut costs. I have heard nothign for years upon years about an expansion of coverage. I’ve only heard fo cutbacks “in order to serve you better”.
The fact is, Media General can’t afford their media trifecta, their “Crown jewel”. The evidence is that they keep cutting corners and further contract these two mainstays of the Tampa Bay area (and their online counterpart) in an effort to please Wall Street.