Posted on July 1, 2008
Reorganization at Tampa Tribune
This just came in my e-mail from someone inside the Tampa Tribune:
Do you know about the reorganization they’re doing here at the Trib? They herded everyone into a conference room today to tell them about 21 layoffs that will happen tomorrow (effective immediately) and a new reorganization of the newsroom’s hierarchy. [Update: The newspaper said it will lay off 11 newsroom staffers this week and eliminate 10 other news jobs “by early fall.”]
It’s going to be like this:
- Managing editors
- 5-6 audience editors — keep in touch with what the print, TV, online audiences want/need
- 5 sections of reporting (all the reporters for print, TV and Web are mashed up together in these groups):
- Deadline — for breaking/daily news
- Data — specifically for database stuff
- Watchdog — for investigative reporting
- Personal journalism — stuff for people’s every day lives like weather, health, entertainment
- Grassroots — citizen journalism
Outside of these groups are three “finishing” groups for print, TV and online to determine what stories should be covered and with what medium.
All the reporters will be trained in gathering news for online in case there’s a need for it. They’ll be training them on the go. The focus will now be on immediacy and using mediums appropriately. The print product is going to be more enterprise and in-depth, the Web is for breaking news, etc.
They’re also straying from the beats system. They want reporting to be more fluid. Like, if the reporter who usually covers city hall has to work on an investigative piece, someone else (like an education or religion reporter or anyone) could step up to cover daily stories.
The idea is that with a drastically reduced staff, they can’t force people to do more, but they have to do things differently. It seems that they really don’t have a choice but to shake things up and try something new. Personally, I think this setup is so crazy that it might actually work. They admitted they don’t really know if this will work, but they’re willing to try. And if it doesn’t, they’re not going to force it to; just hit the drawing board and come up with a new idea.
… Everyone here is kind of freaking out about the change, but what else is the Trib to do? Sit back and let profits continue to drop and keep laying off employees? At least they’re doing something and trying to figure it out. That’s more than what a lot of news organizations can say.
This is a single-source report without backup, so feel free to confirm or correct it if you know something.