'Tampa Tribune' Accuses 'St. Pete Times' of Spreading Rumor It's Ceasing Print Publication

Editor & Publisher, December 15, 2008 | Go to article overview

'Tampa Tribune' Accuses 'St. Pete Times' of Spreading Rumor It's Ceasing Print Publication


Tampa Tribune's top executives took to the newspaper Sunday to vigorously rebut rumors that it was moving to online-only publication -- whispers they said were spread by the rival St. Petersburg Times.

"In the past few weeks, rumors have swirled around this community and the journalism industry about the future of The Tampa Tribune," wrote Executive Editor Janet Coats and President and Publisher Denise Palmer. Some spreading the reports confused the Tampa Tribune, published by Richmond-based Media General Inc., for a Tribune Co.-owned paper, they said. Chicago-based Tribune last week sought bankruptcy protection.

"While that confusion is understandable, even more disturbing has been the persistent rumor that we're going to close the Tribune after the Super Bowl, relying on our Web site, TBO.com, as the conduit for our journalism and advertising," they continued. "The Tallahassee Democrat reported that rumor as fact, and we demanded a correction. Subscription solicitation crews, working for the St. Petersburg Times, spread rumors that the Tribune is closing in January. We have asked the Times to stop the solicitors from spreading this lie."

The Times responded that the rumor had been repeated by employees for an independent contractor who solicits for subscriptions. The contractor has replaced those employees, the paper said.

Coats and Palmer wrote that they were particularly irritated by the rumor because it is the Times, run by a foundation, that has actually cut deeper into its product. …

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