TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Tribune subscribers will be getting the Tampa Bay Times starting Wednesday morning.
The Times announced Tuesday it bought the Trib and shut it down.
Security guards brought big boxes into the building on Parker Street in Downtown Tampa and Trib employees carried out their belongings. The Times offered a handful of people jobs, but about 100 Tribune employees are now out of work.
“It’s sad and it’s kind of hard to believe,” Bayard Steele, a former employee, said. “I mean you figure tomorrow will come up and we’ll come in to work and we’ll work on putting out a newspaper. And we’re not going to be doing that.”
The Tampa Bay Times CEO and chairman, Paul Tash, held a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Tash said the competition between the two papers was putting both “in peril.” According to Poynter, which owns the Times, the paper will have the fifth-largest Sunday circulation of all newspapers in the country.
“It’s been a rough stretch for newspapers during the last 10 years,” Tash said. “There are very few cities that are able to sustain more than one daily newspaper, and the Tampa Bay region is not among them.”
Poynter said the two papers have been competitive for decades, as they previously had separate readership bases. The Times started its Hillsborough edition in 1987. Four years ago the paper switched its name from the St. Petersburg Times to the Tampa Bay Times.
Walt Belcher wrote for the Tribune for 35 years.
“We’re always in the shadow of the of the St. Pete Times,” Belcher said. “We were kind of scrappy bunch, we were saying okay, they got the Pulitzers but we can do it, we’re gonna hang in there.”
News Channel 8 reported back in July the Tribune building on the Hillsborough River will become apartments.
As part of the takeover, the Tampa Tribune’s website TBO.com has been temporarily shutdown. By Tuesday afternoon, viewers were being redirected to the website of the Tampa Times.
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