The Tribune is Dead. Now What?

Agency Perspective on the Tampa Bay Times Buying The Tampa Tribune

Tuesday’s announcement that the Tampa Bay Times bought and closed The Tampa Tribune will have a lasting impact on companies trying to get their message out through both paid and earned media.

This dramatic folding of two major daily newspapers into one is a national trend in media consolidation. One upside is that the Times becomes significantly bigger and much stronger. As of today, the Times is the fifth-largest Sunday circulation paper in the U.S. All Tribune subscribers now are Times subscribers.

So what’s the impact on advertising?

If you’re an advertiser under contract with the Tribune – you’re in good shape. The Times is honoring all signed advertising contracts negotiated with the Tribune at Tribune prices until the end of the existing contract. Tribune ad rates were traditionally lower because they were seen by fewer readers. Now, for the same price, those ads will be seen by up to twice as many people.

Losing the ability to connect with smaller neighborhoods is disappointing. The Tribune published community stories in zoned editions in smaller neighborhoods. Advertisers were able to use these neighborhood zones for hyper-targeted campaigns. According to our sources, the Times has confirmed that zoned editions will be folded into much larger zones the Times already uses.

What’s the impact on journalism?

The Times is a 12-time Pulitzer Prize winning publication with national prominence. Seeing this level of journalism become stronger through a merger like this is a win for that quality of work.

As a not-for-profit, locally owned newspaper, emphasis will continue to be on the quality of writing and depth of stories.

What’s the impact on public relations efforts?

It hasn’t been announced what will happen to all of the Tribune’s reporters, but one less daily paper will certainly mean fewer journalists to tell stories. This will increase competition for ink as we seek to craft engaging queries for reporters.

Expect the Times’ editorials to carry more weight than ever before. This will require us to heighten our focus on nurturing an open dialogue with the Times editorial board on key issues.

Rest assured, we are navigating this new media landscape and the changes it creates. As this consolidation story continues to be written, we will stay close to you on how it impacts your business.

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